In February of this year three things happened that have changed our lives again and forever. In all fairness life is always changing but sometimes more than others, or so it seems to me. One of our closest friends was diagnosed with Cancer. My husband’s mother, my mother-in-law, died suddenly. Lastly, but certainly not least, our son and his wife quietly, excitedly let us know we are going to be grandparents to our third grandchild this fall. Illness, death and life are common denominators in our everyday life. They cause us to stop, if even for a short while, to reflect on what is important in life. We take a bit of time to think through our lives and appreciate the good and let go of the ugly. Sometimes we even re-prioritze what we are currently doing or not doing. While doing some processing myself I came across a post I wrote three years ago. It is amazing the similarities to this year’s events in my family’s life. And as our son and daughter-in-law embark on the adventure of parenting I’d like them to hear what I think about when I think of my mom. (Hint, my first thought is not all the clothes she made for me, the room she decorated for me or even all the trips to Elk Horn she made for basketball practice.)
This was written in May of 2013 and originally entitled “Being a Mom”.
The radio, TV and newspapers keep reminding me it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow. I’m not trying to ignore it. I’m not a Scrooge-type person. It’s just not something I think about much. Being a Mom is who I am. I’ve been one for 30 years now. I told somebody last week that I really don’t feel old but when I realize I have a child who is 30 it makes me realize I’m getting older. This year I’m in a unique position. My mother died December 22nd so this is my first Mother’s Day without her. Also, our daughter is pregnant for the first time. That was one of the blessings at the time of Mom’s death. We could tell my Dad that although one life had ended, another life had just begun. My Mom loved children. Even till the very end if she saw a child she would smile and acknowledge them.
I’m sitting in my space writing this surrounded by books and sunshine. My Mom loved both.Her home was filled with books and windows for light. There has never been a time in my life when books weren’t a part of it. I remember feeling so grown up when Mom would take me to the library while she got groceries. I got to bring 3 books home every week. Three books was never enough. I would have them all read days before we went back. Living in the country we only went to town for things like that once a week. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading at least one book.
Amber, my daughter is the same way. She was a very curious, energetic child but books would capture her attention. She always took a book to read in the van as we ran errands as well as when we traveled a distance. Now that she is an adult she has books in her own home. I hear her talk about going to the library and I know she owns a Nook. Last weekend we celebrated the upcoming birth of her child with a baby shower. Due to our love of reading our daughter-in-law came up with the idea of giving children’s books as cards for the shower gifts. It was a well received idea. This new baby has a great start on her own library. The books ranged from “Little Golden Books” of manners, to Dr. Seuss ABC’s to VeggieTales and everything in-between.
Reading opened my life to people and places I may never meet. Even though I’m a farm-grown girl from a small community I’ve never felt like I had a hard time living in bigger communities or meeting people from all over the world. I think that is largely due to my “exposure” to different people, places and cultures through books. Thanks Mom. Thanks for allowing me time to read.
Another thing Mom exposed me to was the appreciation of nature, specifically plants and flowers. Living on the farm I played outside climbing trees, makings forts and eating green apples freely. Just the thoughts of playing outside on our farm makes me smile. It was a great place to grow up. We had a garden that I helped with. One of my main chores when I was old enough was to mow our large yard. Mom planted flowers near the house every spring and we harvested tomatoes and potatoes every fall. Later in life mom went to school for floral design and opened her own flower shop. She loved beautiful things, flowers and color being at the top of the list.
My thumb is not as green as Mom’s but I do love the bright colors of flowers and plant them faithfully each spring. I love the majesty of trees and have always paid attention to the trees and grounds surrounding each home we have lived in over the years. Thanks Mom. Thanks for letting me help you and letting me play outside.
The other thing I think of this Mother’s Day weekend is how my mom loved us. She loved my brother through playing JV and Varsity football at the same time. Washing those uniforms twice a week, working to figure out what got grass stains out the best. She (and Dad, of course) heard music she liked coming out of our instruments and a lot of loud music that wasn’t her favorite as my brother practiced his guitar for the bands he played in as a teen-ager. Sometimes his friends would come out and practice at our farm where they could really turn up the volume! She loved me through all of my talking and I did alot of it! She loved my friend Darla like a daughter always willing to include her when we did things. I remember Darla coming to stay at our house right after she got out of the hospital from a long stay due to an accident causing severe burns. Mom asked Darla’s parents what she needed to do to help her recover and she made some minor adjustments in our house to make it safer for Darla at that time.
Even though our kids are 28 and 30, their friends are still a part of our lives. Just last weekend two of Amber’s friends drove several hours to come and be a part of our baby shower/birthday party. I was thrilled to see them and their 3 kids. We pray for our kids’ friends nearly as much as we pray for our kids. Thanks Mom for showing me how it’s done.
Was my Mom perfect? No. Am I a perfect Mom? No
That’s where we moms get into trouble. We focus on what we perceive to be our shortcomings. I can’t bake like my friend Kathy or cook like my friend Judy, so our guests don’t get that level of food at our house. I’m not as athletic as my sister-in-law Cami and we didn’t even have debate in my high school so those were not my strengths to share with my kids. I’m me and I love my kids. (period) I don’t have to do everything perfectly and truthfully I shouldn’t even try. Nor should I worry about it.
I saw an appreciation for education, reading in particular, beautiful things, creativity whether it be through music or making something and most importantly I saw love. Did my Mom intentionally teach me those things? Yes, just by living them and giving me opportunity to live them with her. Knowing what I know now, 30 years into being a Mom. I’m convinced that while formal lessons and education are necessary and good, our kids get more from who we are and who we are not than what we provide. Who are you in your children’s lives? Who do you want to be?
This Mother’s Day I will continue to pray for my kids that they would be “rooted and established in love, (and that they) may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19 NIV That’s who I am. I am a believer in the love and limitless power of Christ.