"From Feisty Foes to Forever Friends"
(excerpt from Lowcountry Delights below)


Mother and Daughter--
Partners and Friends

Malyssa and Maxine Pinson
Mother's Day 2001

It is not who or what we were yesterday that matters,
It is who and what we are today,
and the hope of who and what we may become tomorrow.


Our Story
by Maxine Pinson

     Ten years ago it would have been disastrous for my twelve-year-old daughter, Melissa, and me to have been left alone in a dangerous place like a kitchen.  No doubt about it, one of us would have whopped the other one over the head with a frying pan within a matter of moments.  The only uncertainty was who would get the first blow and who would win that day's battle.
     If Melissa and I had to travel together, I sat behind the wheel up-front, and she sat in the mini-van's way back yonder spot.  The tension between the two of us was so caustic that we would not even sleep in the same room if we had to travel together.  I would pay extra just to have a wall between us.  Whenever I was home with Melissa alone at night, I slept with my bedroom door locked and a motion detector on.  She did not have to worry about me going up to her room.  It was such a disaster, I would not allow the exterminator to go into the sty for two years.  Melissa and Myra, her guinea pig, lived like two little rats in a room that was knee-high with impossible-to-decipher stuff.
     Five years ago, when Melissa was sixteen-years-old, I no longer had to worry about what would happen if we were left alone or daily battles.  Melissa had become a teenage runaway.  For two-and-a-half horrendous years, we had no clue where she was.  There were times when we did not know if our daughter was dead or alive.  Both possibilities were real, and each was haunting.  Meanwhile, my husband, Bill, and I were facing another crisis.  Our twenty-one year old daughter, Celia, was dying of a rare form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- mycosis lungoides.  There were days, during this time, when I was convinced I had died and gone to hell.  When I realized I was still roaming planet Earth, I decided Hell would probably be like a five-diamond resort in comparison.  There were times when I wanted to die, prayed to die, asked others to pray for me to die.  It was just that bad.  I had neither the desire nor the energy for living a life that had become so painful.


     More than anything in my life-to-date, Malyssa represents, to me, the manifestation of hope fulfillment and answered prayer.  I am grateful that the many prayers (by me and so many others) for Malyssa's safe return and restoration were answered; I am thankful the prayers (prayed to a merciful God of love and grace) for my demise were unanswered.
     Today I cannot imagine life without Malyssa, and I look forward to our time together.  Seldom does a day pass that we do not see each other, chat by phone, or correspond by e-mail.  Without Malyssa's support, encouragement, sensitivity, intelligence, sense-of-humor, keen eye-for-detail, affirmations, and confidence in my ability, Lowcountry Delights simply would not be. I love you, 'lyssa!
     In 1999, shortly before her twentieth birthday, Melissa decided to change the spelling of her name to Malyssa.  I sensed her desire to adopt a new spelling of her name was a statement of her "new" person she had become.  I understood the message I felt my daugher was trying to convey, and I respected her decision to do so.  The road Malyssa traveled was a difficult one, but I feel it has made her a stronger and more compassionate human being.  She has become a woman I am proud to call "daughter" and "friend."