Tonight I’m sitting with my Mama, as I remember her and struggle to fully grasp how long it has been since I heard her voice aloud.
And tonight as I am struggling to let some things go and not put back together pieces from some other things, I can hear her asking the question she always asked us. Whether it was schoolwork or housework or outside chores or a project or apologizing for a wrongdoing, she would ask,
“Did you do your best?”
If we were able to honestly answer “Yes ma’am,” grace abounded. She was okay with almost anything as long as we had no kidding, no holds barred tried our very best.
Mama was all about doing the best we could do in any given situation. It was something she taught us and expected.
Some days that might still look pretty broken, but as long as we had “applied” ourselves (another turn of phrase she liked) and given it our “all,” Mama was pleased. It might follow that we would still have some work to do towards a resolution, but still. Our best was all she ever asked.
Not THE best. Our best.
Tonight I needed that grace. I’m thankful to Mama for reminding me of it. I can’t fix all the things I want to. I don’t have the time to make all the good things happen I’d like to make happen. I was grumpy a few times today and wish I hadn’t been. I didn’t get all the clothes folded that are on the couch. There are a couple of dishes in the sink that will likely stay there until morning. I cried twice today over things I can’t change. I forgot to thank my neighbor for driving me this evening.
But I can say, pretty much, that overall, yes ma’am, I tried my best. And when I came to that realization, I felt a weight lift. (And I’m pretty sure I felt my Mama patting me on my back, but that’s another story.) As long as we can end a day by saying we’ve done the best we could do with what we had in front of us–well, then, I’m calling that a win, how about y’all?
Love and grace to all.
1 thought on “The Question She Always Asked”
Love this post, Tara. And love your Mama’s words. I hope I do my best. Needed some comforting words tonight and your post was like having a quilt tucked around me. Love, love your writing.