By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
Walking the unfamiliar streets of foreign countries alone never fazed me, not even once. Bungee jumping off of a bridge did nothing more than necessitate an inconvenient visit to a chiropractor and impromptu public speaking stirred less nerves than an empty coffee mug. Fear was a distant emotion, an absent friend and a most unlikely foe. Possibly naivety was dominant in my genes or it could be the inability to admit doubt even in the most half-brained of ideas. There were moments of hesitation, the semblance of a little voice that proclaimed obvious objection to frequent bouts of ignorance; however, the paralysis that is the concrete feet of fear was a complete stranger to me until recently.
Backwoods Barbie is just one of the many things I have been called, some far less glamorous. Over the years I have been known as many things, filled many shoes and worn almost as many hats. Three months ago a little stick with a bright pink line presented me with an entirely new name, bigger than life shoes to fill and my very first introduction to real, unmistakable fear. Without any words, the loudest silence I have ever heard rang out the clearest invitation I have ever received. Backwoods Barbie, girl in the boots, awkward girl from Mississippi, girl with a strange name, Reed’s wife, Lydia’s best friend is now someone’s Momma.
Stronger than any black coffee I have ever had, the news jolted through my body with more energy than the time I tried to fix the dining room chandelier without turning off the power. For what seemed like hours, but was certain only to be moments, the sound of my stampeding heart was the only recognizable sensation. Then a lifetime of insecurities came rushing in as if someone had been holding them back all these years.
One right after another, reasons why I would never measure up flooded my already crowded brain. Somewhere during the onslaught of emotion, the parade of tears and the realization that I no longer could live off of caffeine and cupcakes, I did what I have done all my life. I stood up, maybe even a little too quickly as I went head first into the bathroom door but recovered nicely.
Of all the many titles I have held over the years, none will ever be as important, as challenging as rewarding as the one laid before me now. With the long line of strong women running through my blood, the trail of the most incredible mothers, grandmothers and friends a woman could have, I accept this amazing gift with both hands. This Mother’s Day will undoubtedly be different. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who had the moment of unmistakable fear, that most private of all private moments when you sat down as one person and stood up as two.