Oh boy. I’ve almost avoided this post for a long time now, because I was worried I would never be able to articulate what my mother actually means to me. Does that make sense? It does in my head. Is that offensive? I don’t think so, I think it’s actually complementary of the job that she has done because at the end of the day, words aren’t enough. They really aren’t.
On a rainy day in October, a simple little couple in a simple little town, who already adored their first child, a boy, were given me, they’re awaited little girl. I know that they adored me from the get-go, all three of them. I can tell from the many loving pictures that my mom meticulously captured and stored away, from the poignant notes that she kept detailing all of my milestones, how she stored and cared for my delicate little outfits (many of which Hattie wears!), the many videos that she captured of my older brother lovingly terrorizing me (big joke.) or my busy dad stopping to coddle and dote over me. My little brother entered the picture 7 years later, and he was just as loved, but you’ll notice something if you take the time to analyze the documentation of all of our little beginnings. My mom isn’t in many of them. Like most moms, she was entirely sacrificing, never taking the time for herself, always thinking of us-she was behind the camera,or behind the pen (literally and figuratively speaking) the stories she kept were never about her weariness or the loneliness motherhood can often bring, they were all about us, her children, and the light that we were in her life. This pretty much summarizes my mom in my mind. Completely dedicated, and in turn the very best mom that I could have ever asked for.
I take my mom for granted a lot. I truly do. I forget how blessed I am to have had her for the entirety of my life. Being the kooky little nerd that I am, I reference philosophy when I count my blessings. I think about those children who were abandoned or unloved as children, how according to developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, either have hope for the future, or insecurities as results from how they were handled by their caregivers as little innocent babes. Anyone who has taken psychology in college is aware of this “trust vs. mistrust” stage. Is it a real thing? It’s hard to pinpoint theologies, but I’d say that my mom’s intense love is forever engraved in my brain. I know that her devotion to me is unwavering, unfailing, and nothing that I can do would drive her to betray me or falter in her prayerful dedication to my life and well-being. I hope that all of you know what this feels like in some way, shape or form, because no matter what has happened in the course of my day, I reflect on this comforting thought every single night before I drift off to sleep, and it’s a warm concept that envelopes every ounce of my being like no other, my mom loves me so.
My Dad blessed my mom by letting her stay at home with all of us kiddos. My mom never missed a class party, a gymnastic meet, a tennis tournament, a pageant, a basketball game, a broken heart, or a family dinner. She never missed the little details either- as in NOTHING got past her-N.O.T.H.I.N.G. I was held accountable for every wrong move or mistake that I made, she lovingly nudged me back on the path that I needed to be on, one little lesson at a time. She was always my biggest fan. She raised me in a delicate way, but never too much so as to inhibit my strong willed nature. One of my favorite stories about how she molded my drive in life involves a poem that my mom would read to us, and had printed on our fridge. I can easily memorize things, so in no time, I had this poem stored away in my mind, and I can still repeat every single word in perfect prose.
“Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: “I can.” Edgar Albert Guest
One day as I lost my patience with a speech that I was practicing for an upcoming Jr.Beta competition, I told her in my sassy teenager voice that I couldn’t do it! She quietly walked away and returned with a pair of scissors. (Ha!) I always had long blonde hair, and was actually quite fond of it… She held up the scissors and a lock of hair and told me that I was intelligent and capable, and for the rest of my life I would always be able to do whatever it is that I set my mind to. She told me to never lose sight of the character that God gave me, and that giving up always had consequences. And that if I continued to doubt myself, she would cut my hair, and that I shouldn’t tell her that she “can’t” because she would prove me wrong! Does this sound harsh? You know, maybe to some kids it might be, but I ALWAYS think back on this day, and you know why? Because it was one of those times that made things click into place. I walked away thinking, “She’s right. I can do anything” and it’s been a driving force behind the vast majority of struggles in my life-that one stellar moment, when my mom knew exactly what it would take to handle her strong willed little girl. Now, my mom wouldn’t have done that to my brothers, because we each require different handling, but that’s what amazes me about MY mom. She knew what each of her children needed to hear from her, and how they needed things addressed. I needed tough love, and a good kick in the ass at times, but God gave her the wisdom to approach us each as individuals. I try so very hard each day to do the same in my mothering, because I know what a blessing it was for me. That mama of mine, she sure was smart!
I have the fondest memories of my mom on the floor of my playroom, dressing barbies with me, building towers, coloring, swimming and playing in the summer sun, scratching my back
at times okay, all of the time, shopping with this little fashion lover (even though she really could have cared less!), trying new foods with me, carrying me to the breakfast table every single morning via piggyback (people, she did this until I started high school!), teaching me to balance a checkbook and manage money, helping me shave my legs for the first time, apply makeup, mind my manners, drive a car, run a lawnmower, cook a mean rice and gravy. How she washed my hair for me on nights when I was tired during my pregnancies and needed my mama to love on me. Held my hand as I brought my own babies into this world, and even now, how my own children adore her and how Hattie begs to “pay wif her yeigh-yeigh”. This woman was a wonder. She did it all, and she taught me to do it all. Be a lady, watch your swearing, don’t sit around in idleness, do more than you think you can, run that weedeater (but put on some pants for goodness sakes), respect your body and don’t dress like a tramp, don’t let your hair get greasy, brown that meat down a little harder, never doubt your Savior, always say your prayers, and never take your daddy for granted. I find myself crying every now and then, worrying that I won’t be as good to my daughter as she was to me. Guys, she was good. Oh, she was good.
My mom never felt like the best in the world. She often doubts herself as a mom. I like to think i’m insightful, and I can see this in her wary eyes at times. I wish that I could say something to make her magically feel the love that I’ve felt from her. It’s human nature to doubt ourselves, but it’s funny that she spent her life teaching her children to never doubt their abilities only to doubt hers. I think she’s spectacular, and I hope that she recognized that all of the little things she ever did out of love resulted in lives changed for the better. More than just the lives of her three children though. She changed my father’s life with her agape love for him, the lives of her friends, her acquaintances, her church family, and many more strangers that may have felt her giving spirit as they encountered her in the throes of life.
My mom is my heart. Even on the days when I feel like the busyness of our homes has us miles apart, and when we haven’t had a moment to reconnect, just us two, or when I feel like our different methods of expressing emotion and communication have missed the mark, I still feel blessed just to have her in my life. My mom is whole, my mom is pure, and my mom is true, but best of all, my mom is there. She always has been and she always will be.
Happiest of Mother’s Days to you Mom, I love you too much.