Intersection Column | Lifelong Lessons
by Robin W. Pearson
I learned a lot from my mama, things she never sat down and wrote out for me, valuable life lessons I’ve passed down to my own little people. Never slam a door or “walk heavy” when a cake is in the oven. When the streetlights come on, everybody had best be inside. It’s okay to smile and be kind, but not everybody is your friend. Start frying your chicken with the lid on, but take it off when you turn the chicken over; nobody likes a soggy crust. Mama is never too tired to make dinner, too busy to listen or too broke to spare a dollar. Always visit your grandma, even if—especially if—you’re only in town for a minute. Just call a child’s name one time and call on the Lord all the time. Love your family like you mean it, the kind of love that hopes, believes and endures all things, even if you’ve caused some of those very “things” that must be endured.
Still, she skipped some lessons in life’s playbook. Perhaps her mama never taught her, or she decided I’d have to experience those parts myself. When do you let go of your little people—and when do you stop calling them little? What seeds do I plant in their spirits and minds today that they’ll reap the benefits of tomorrow (and the days and the months and the years after that)? How do I communicate my lofty dreams for them without burdening them with my pesky expectations? And when all the parenting is nearly said and done, what do you say to the man snoring quietly beside you, wearing the scuffed wedding band you gave him decades ago?
I watched my parents work through these issues, and believe me, such “life lessons” were hard on parent and child alike. These are some of the how-tos McKinley Baldwin’s mama and daddy also struggled with in my third novel, Walking in Tall Weeds. In fact, you might think they’d never bothered to crack open their parenting-while-married manual. No one doubted that Paulette and Frederick adored their son. They’d labored to raise, educate and train up their only child in the way that he should go, just as Proverbs 22:6 had directed them.
The real question was whether they loved him enough to let him grow up on his own and if they loved each other enough to grow old together. Etta and Fred are smack in the middle of their third decade of marriage, and McKinley is an adult living on his own. Yet, the three of them find themselves overly preoccupied sifting through their lifelong baggage to unpack and walk out what truly matters—that bears-all-things kinda love 1 Corinthians 13 teaches.
Perhaps I should have taken more notes while I was sitting around my parents’ kitchen table or perched on my Sunday school pew. It sure would be helpful to know what to do with these pesky gray hairs under my chin. Though I’ve mastered different kinds of gravy—sausage, giblet and brown—I still can’t roll or cut out a proper biscuit, something Paulette and I have in common. Some days it’s hard to navigate the ins and outs of teenage drivers, dating and boys who eat you out of house and home. And while I should be familiar with all things girl related, my own hormones have turned my world upside down, affecting my perspective on friendships, professional relationships and interpersonal dynamics.
But there’s one thing Hubby and I see clearly from this vantage point in our life: our commitment to each other and to our peeps. Sure, I might make him wonder, “Who is this woman God gave me?” Then I’ll squeeze his hand over my laptop while our family’s music—the fussing, the clamor, the laughter and at times even the quiet—hums in the background. At those moments we cling to that very thing my mama didn’t have to tell me, what the Baldwins need to learn, but which I know to be true.
Our reading glasses might fail us, but love? It never will.
About the Author
Robin W. Pearson’s writing sprouts from her Southern roots, her faith in Jesus Christ and her love of her husband, seven children and four-legged baby, Oscar. She’s the author of the Christy Award–winning A Long Time Comin’, ’Til I Want No More and her latest, Walking in Tall Weeds. Follow this homeschool mama to hear her adventures in faith, family and fiction.
About the Book
From award-winning author Robin W. Pearson comes a new Southern family drama about one family who discovers their history is only skin-deep and that God’s love is the only family tie that binds.
Did You Know?
In 1850, half the millionaires in the United States lived in Natchez, Mississippi. In the 1800s the Mississippi River was the western frontier of the nation, cotton was king and the Americans cashed in on the trade made possible by the mighty river. Here are some other interesting historical tidbits about Natchez and its surrounding area:
Natchez was the first European settlement founded along the 3,000-mile Mississippi River that was under French control.
Antebellum (which means before the war) homes abounded in the town set on the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi. Over 600 Natchez homes are on the National Register of Historic Homes. Many are two-and three-story dwellings that have been restored to their original splendor. Longwood (the largest octagonal house in the United States), Stanton Hall, Rosalie and Melrose are just a few.
The Old Jail (which figures prominently in my latest book, Deception) has been kept true to its original design.
The Natchez Trace starts at Natchez and ends 444 miles later in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Natchez Trace Park Rangers series gave me the opportunity to explore Natchez and the Trace. If the opportunity to visit the area ever presents itself, be sure to accept!
Why I LOVE My Local Christian Bookstore
“I still prefer browsing in a bookstore, where the scent of paper and ink draws me like a hummingbird to sugar water, where book covers transport me to other worlds, where titles lead me to hope. There's nothing like discovering a new book, in a real store, waiting for you on a shelf. It's like going on a sacred quest—every time I cross the threshold, a new adventure awaits.”