Who am I? What makes me who I am? How did my personality, dialect, mannerisms, and physical features become me?
I suppose I have thought about these questions from time-to-time throughout my years. Today, however, I was faced with the question during a conversation with my son, Joshua. I proposed to him that I am a potpourri — he asked, “What is that?” I said, “Well, it is a mixture of things.” Then, I thought, it is much more than a “mixture of things” it is a blend of exotic dried flowers that make a beautiful aroma — isn’t that exactly what we are?
How did the potpourri that is “Tameasa” become exotic and is she beautiful? So, I began sifting through the flowers that were a part of who I am…
I would have to say the first — my mother — only sixteen years old when she became pregnant with me…delivering me at seventeen. So young, she was, and so naive to the world’s ways. Yet, she chose to carry me to term and give me life, when it might have been “easier” to abort me. She struggled raising me, but I know that she gave me the best of all she could give me, including so many aunts and uncles that loved me.
Then there was my dear Grandma Keen — her skin so soft like rose petals and she always smelled of Oil of Olay. I remember how she loved Jesus and wanted all of her children and grandchildren to love Him, too. She taught me things that I don’t think about much…unless I’m doing them. For instance, how to fold my napkin when I was finished eating, so the crumbs wouldn’t get on the floor and how to think of others and share with them all that you have. She taught me how to cut paper dolls out of the JcPenny Catalog (because we couldn’t afford store bought paper dolls). I would sit forever, on the floor, playing with my paper doll family…and oh, the many outfits that they had to wear. My paper dolls were affluent. She also taught me how to write a thank you note or a note of encouragement. I remember on one occasion that she set me to that task, all on my own, to write a note of an encouragement to my Aunt Margaret (one of her younger sisters). A couple of weeks after that, she received a call from Aunt Margaret wondering why I had mailed a “sympathy card!” Oh, how I miss that beautiful flower I called Grandma!
Then there were Aunts — my goodness what a lot of wildflowers I had in them. My Aunt Lorraine was always the most beautiful lady I had ever laid eyes on — lovely through and through. She was elegant and graceful and seemed to have such strength — that of a Southern Magnolia.
Oh, and my Aunt Scarlett — who always peppered me with hugs and kisses and love like none ever known. She had such a way of making you feel that you were the most important person in the world to her when you were with her.
I can’t forget my Aunt Deita — she was the “fun” aunt. She always drove cool cars and did cool things. She wore the latest, stylish clothes and demonstrated what a strong, single woman could do. She also gave me my first taste of sea spray and introduced me to that magnificent Atlantic Ocean.
I cannot forget my sister, Rene! She has loved me with an unconditional love that has shown me security. We have laughed ourselves stupid together, cried together (especially when our Momma passed), and we’ve shared God’s love with one another.
These are just a few of the wildflowers that gave me my poise, my accent, my laughter and my joy. Yes, I’m a potpourri of all these ladies in all the ways that cause a sweet fragrance…I’m so thankful to be a cut of these dried flowers and pray one day that, I too, will cause a sweet fragrance to those lives I have had the honor and joy of touching.