Laughing with Mother

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Mom loved getting cards!

With vivid clarity, I can remember her laughter coming from the other side of the Hallmark aisle, where she had found a card funnier than the one we had just shared a laugh over.   She would say, “We better stop laughing so loud, or they are going to kick us out of here”.  My sister will remember the good times in the Hallmark stores with Mother too.  She loved cards, loved giving and receiving them and we could spend half an hour finding funny ones and reading them aloud to each other.  Then, we would get the giggles and with tears coming from our eyes and our bellies sore from laughing, we would finally move on to another store.

This is just one of the memories I cherish with Mother, who went home to be with the Lord almost 20 years ago.

A couple of days ago, when I walked the aisles of the card store, picking out cards, I felt that old, familiar pang of loss like I always do around Mother’s Day and several other times throughout the year.  You don’t ever stop missing a presence that made your world brighter.  My mom was like a ray of sweet sunshine and anyone who knew her can attest to that.

So, for those missing your mom on this special day, who like me, have already experienced their departure from this world, take time to honor their memory today.  Look at old pictures, laugh, reminisce.  You can have one of those downright ugly cries and use a whole box of tissues if you need to.   But when you’re done, get up and honor that memory by being the best mom you can be.

For those of you who have lost children or desperately long for them and are unable to bear them, my heart breaks for you and I pray God’s peace and presence with you on this day and always. If you don’t have children of your own, or yours are grown and gone, there are plenty in this world that need a mother figure to guide them.  Surely there is one out there, just waiting and yearning for your nurturing.  God instilled that nurturing in us and we can greatly impact this world if we share it freely and broadly.

And for those of you who don’t know your mother, don’t feel like you have one or maybe your childhood wasn’t like the ones you dreamed about; God bless you!  And in the words of my daughter last night at dinner, “Jesus can be a mother or father to anyone who needs Him to be”.   Yes He can.  He can fulfill any desire that your heart is longing for.

Happy Mother’s Day my friends.  Enjoy!

 

 

I am mom

Dearest Mother BIG tag

Dearest Mother BIG tag (Photo credit: AForestFrolic)

From the time you see that soft, wiggly, bawling baby, you fall in love.  You become a fierce protector.  You are mom.  This tiny gift from heaven rocks your world and melts your heart.

You vow she will always be safe in your arms, sheltered by your love, kept far away from all evil and danger.  She needs you.

She will be given every opportunity, receive plenty of praise and encouragement along with proper discipline and instruction.

As the years go marching by in this journey, you stumble, yes you even fall a time or two, but you do your best.  You learn quickly that this thing called parenting is no easy feat.  Your best isn’t perfect, but you never give up.  You defend, you teach, your love grows deeper.

She drives you crazy sometimes.  She reminds you of when you were that age.  She makes you want to tell your mom you’re sorry again.

She grows up overnight and it seems she doesn’t need you as much anymore.   Thankfully, she still calls and asks your advice.  She doesn’t always take it.  You probably drive her crazy sometimes.  You have dreams and goals and hopes for her.  She has different ones, but you will love her anyway.

Your love grows ever deeper and she returns that love.  She begins to realize that you often make sense and tells you so.  You watch her become more like you in many ways.  You become one of her closest confidantes.

She’s not perfect; she stumbles and yes, even falls sometimes, but she gets right back up. You are her biggest fan and you secretly hope she got that tenacity from you.

Your role as a parent never ends; it merely changes.  You continue to pray that as the years pass and you both continue to grow older, that you are always what she needs you to be.  You are mom.

Dust bunnies and Diaries

Will I even miss the mess?

Will I even miss the mess?

“My mom used to force us to do this at least twice a year”, I said, as we sifted through each and every item in her closet and drawers.  My daughter is quite the packrat and I knew we had better take a day (and preferably a full one) before her move to Texas to dig in deep.

As we went through every box, purse, bag and crate piece by piece, she painstakingly decided which pile the item would make its home.

Memory after memory assaulted my mind as I tried to keep this a lighthearted event.  There were the multiple pairs of Toms that she began wearing after her first trip to Mexico, when she learned she could supply another child with a pair if we bought them.  This reminded me of how compassionate she has always been.  There was the birthday card from Granny that still had the crisp $2 bills tucked inside that she had been saving; the tiny pee wee cheerleader uniform she once wore; the drum sticks that light up when you play from her days of drum lessons; the Dr. Seuss books, stuffed animals and old report cards.

She laughed as she opened an old diary and began to read.  As I listened to the words written by a nine year old, describing her days in detail, the thing that brought me the most pleasure was the happiness reflected in her entries.  So, as we laughed over silly diary entries and I again hid tears, we reflected on the past.

When you clean the cobwebs and dust bunnies from things long forgotten, it’s akin to cleaning the cobwebs from the recesses of your mind, or removing the layers of dust accumulated from years of not remembering.

Thankfully, my mind is alive tonight with so many beautiful memories that I had tucked away.  It’s a joy and a pleasure to revisit them, to recall all the good times with my family.

The Two Anniversaries

This week holds two special days for me; one is the anniversary of my marriage, which symbolizes a beautiful beginning and the other is the anniversary of the death of my mother which epitomizes an agonizing final chapter in the book of my life.

Since 1996, I have endeavored to honor both dates with all of the respect and enthusiasm I could muster.  The first few years after mom died, it was especially difficult to enjoy my anniversary.  There was that “other” day coming on its heels, the one where the sky always looks the same as it did on that fateful day and details that would be better off forgotten gallop through my thoughts.

As I have grown older and realize the brevity of life and the importance of enjoying it, I often think of how my mom embraced life.

She was a dreamer, a romantic, intelligent and funny.  She lived through some tough things; she lost her mom, her dad, her grandmother and a brother.  She went through a heart-wrenching divorce.

However, if you were to inquire of anyone in my family as to who absolutely lit up a room when they entered; they would tell you quickly that it was my mother.  She is often remembered for her smile, even when in the midst of adversity.

I will never forget the first time she met my husband and how much she adored him.  She said, ‘he’s a keeper”.  I reminisce on the first (sometimes bumpy) years of marriage when I dialed her number seeking solace and more importantly someone willing to blindly take my side.  Although I’m still not sure exactly how she pulled it off, my outlook was often altered by the time I hung up the phone.  She would cause me to look inward, and sometimes identify (much to my chagrin!) when I was the problem.

So, in a strange, somewhat enchanted way, the two days are combined into the fond memories of my mother, the wonderful times we had together; and the beautiful memories of my marriage and the hopes and dreams of many years to come.

There is also the knowledge that she would want me to give my anniversary the recognition it deserves and celebrate it to the fullest.  She would flash that big ole’ smile and give us her blessings all over again if she could.

Once again, my memories, which threatened to take on a life of melancholy this afternoon, have only catapulted me to a happiness that comes from knowing that I have been and continue to be loved and nurtured by some of the best!  I’m sitting here with your smile, mom and happy tears.

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