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!

 

 

Macaroni noodles and boo-boos

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Thank you mom for all that you taught me and all of the things you did to show your love.

Thank you for wearing necklaces lovingly crafted from macaroni noodles; for hanging countless masterpieces on the fridge, for making me believe I was gifted, talented, beautiful and brilliant, for all the boo-boo’s you made better (and yes that DID sting);for watching all the “plays” and dance routines and listening to the unending songs I made up as I went and never once making me feel stupid.

I thank you for your smile, you know, the one that told me I was your world.  I thank you for your long nails that gently scratched my itches, even when I was dirty.  I thank you for the soft, gentle voice that read to me and explained life to me.  I thank you for all of the meals you crafted and I apologize for the many times I stubbornly refused to eat something “gross”.

Thank you for never leaving my side when I needed you, for all the coddling when I was sick, for wiping my nose countless times before I could do it myself, for all the diapering, wiping and cleaning duties, which I know you did the majority of.

I thank you for the dresses you made, the many times you baked after everyone else was asleep, so that my class would have cupcakes for a party, for the way you knew how to stretch a dollar in lean times to feed and clothe all three of us. Thanks for lying across my bed with me when I was a teenager and making me feel comfortable to tell you the truth, knowing that even if there were repercussions, they would be fair.

Thank you for never forgetting a birthday, an important event or to tell me you loved me.  Thank you for your prayers and for teaching me about God, and for teaching your children morals and values.

Most of all, I thank you for being you; the wonderful, beautiful woman I called Mother.  I miss you!

Mama’s helpers

Hydrangeas

Good morning, on this beautiful sunny Friday!

I have shared some thoughts and pictures about my Mom this week via various social media, as I always think about her even more during this week.  I didn’t want to be remiss in mentioning my “other mothers”.  Mom would want me to as well.

I’ll begin with my precious mother in law, who has supported me through thick and thin, defended me like I was her own and loved me with that “mama love” for over 20 years now.  She has been a blessing to me in more ways than I could count.  She loves her family fiercely and unconditionally.

I’m also grateful and blessed to have my aunts who are there for me whenever I need them and have taught me so much about life and love.  Their hugs, advice and enduring love have been available to me for as long as I can remember and I cherish them.

My former Pastor’s wife showered me with love and advised me with wisdom on many matters of the heart.  She will always be precious to me.

There have been others through the years; the friend’s mom, church family members, even a neighbor who just knew when I needed that “mama love”.  You know what I’m talking about; that hug, that little nugget of truth spoken into my life, the promise of prayers.  God has blessed me with many of these relationships.  He cares for His children and knows I have needed that in the years since Mom passed.

Thank you to God for sending them and thank you to all of these ladies.  Without you, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.

I love you dearly.

My heart

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

Ashley and Morgan; then and now

Chubby little hands, wet with slobber, getting caught in my hair

Up half the night rocking you with a prayer until the fever subsided

Chasing remnants of applesauce around your tiny lips with a tiny spoon

The spoon, now airborne and not because I’m pretending it’s a plane

Bath time;  soggy toys, towels and floors until you were like ten

Drying a wiggle worm until the towel drops and you run away giggling

Treating Boo boos with kisses and rug rat bandages and Neosporin

Riding bicycles and scooters and go karts and four-wheelers

Going to Little league, Church camp, school plays and sleepovers

Checking out library books and Disney movies and The Nutcracker

Reminding daily about baths and brushing teeth and hair

Blond hair whipping in the wind as we caught our share of fish

Driving cars and blasting music and growing up too fast

Never-ending showers that leave the rest of us mad and cold

Little Miss Know It All who doesn’t really have a clue

Late nights, some fights, long talks and lots of prayers

High school, sports, dances and dates

Increasing beauty, decreasing days before graduation and then…..

Empty nest, quiet house, too much time on our hands

Phone calls, holiday visits and lots of texts

Agree to disagree, offer advice but realize my limits

Heart breaks when you feel pain or struggle

Loving you long distance, looking forward to your next visit

Missing you, lots of reminiscing, tears and prayers

Mom or Mother?

Rose

As the day we celebrate Mother’s Day draws nearer, I can’t help but think about mine even more than normal.  My mother was the epitome of the mother deserving of all the accolades the holiday encourages.  Everywhere you look this time of year there are advertisements for the perfect gift or card or dinner; many choices to bestow them honor.

We actually called my mom “mother” until we were in our teenage years.  As we grew older and I think due to the influence of our friends, we slowly, carefully tested out “mom” and eventually made the switch.  I say slowly and carefully because my dad didn’t like the term “mom”; he thought “mother” was far more respectful.

Today I was remembering how all of our friends loved mom.  She always had a smile, a kind word and a way of making them feel special.  She was very discerning and could quickly tell if someone was going through something and needed a hug.  She was always compassionate and loving, but they also knew she didn’t put up with any shenanigans and showed her the utmost respect.

On a fall day, if we had friends over to play football in the yard full of crunchy leaves, she was inside making a big pot of chili and brownies, enough for all to share.  On a trip to the mall, our car was busting at the hinges with teenagers who weren’t the least bit ashamed to hang out with “Mom Goff” which is what most of them called her.  I still have one of her old scrapbooks and it is full of pictures, cards and even poems that our friends gave to her through the years.  The expressions of their love continue past high school, as some kept in touch with her long after they’d lost touch with us.

How I would love the chance to honor her on this Mother’s Day now that I am older and fully understand how truly blessed I was.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew it then; we all did, but she died when I was a mere 30 years old, pregnant with my 2nd child.  In the years since, my girls have grown up and moved out and away to begin their own adult lives and I am Nana to a precious five year old.  I know so much more than I did then about the joy and yes, even the pain of motherhood.

I know more of how she felt at graduations, weddings, the birth of a grandchild.  I know more about the sacrifice, the beauty, the love and the heartaches that every mom partakes of.  I’ve walked in similar shoes, I guess you could say.  I now understand that from the moment you birth that child, they own a piece of your heart.  Because of that, you feel not only their joy, but their pain for a lifetime.

Motherhood is worthy of honor; it is a lifetime calling.  You can’t quit, take a break, walk away and find yourself or turn off your emotions when you feel like they might pull you under.  You are in it for life!  For those of you who might be saying, some aren’t worthy of the praises you offer; some abandon, some mistreat.  You are right, and I sincerely offer my heartfelt sadness and regret for those who can’t celebrate their childhood.  However, those can begin a new chapter and leave a better legacy and those of us who know how, can help them.  Women everywhere should try to help fill those voids in children who have broken hearts and low expectations with love and understanding.

And for those of you who still have your mother, whether you call her mom, mother, madre, or mamma, I would encourage you to spend time with her!  Cherish every moment because I can assure you, you will be glad you did when she is gone.

I am glad my mom knew how deeply her children loved her and I am beyond grateful for the 30 years I had her in my life.

Love you mother!

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I was blessed with one of those Moms like the one from Leave It to Beaver, only better.  Hers was the shoulder I cried on, and it was her hand that I held.  She was strength when I needed it and a resounding voice of wisdom during my trials and troubles.

In my early years, she was my fiercest protector, my biggest encourager, my most invested teacher and an abundant source of love and gentleness.

As I grew, she cheered me on, she poured positivity into me, and she taught me forgiveness and reminded me to turn to God for all things.

In my teenage years, she cried with me as she stroked my back, bringing hope to a broken heart.  She defended me like a lioness, when she thought I’d been wronged.  She never lost faith in me or what I could become.  She was my mentor, my solace, my sole confidante.

When I became a mother myself, I learned to appreciate her more than ever for it was then that I recognized her sacrifices and identified with them myself.

Now, after almost 17 years, I can still remember the sound of her voice, the strength of her touch and thankfully, all the things that she taught me about love and life.

I will miss her until the day the good Lord calls me home and I am reunited with her.

For those of you who didn’t have the greatest mom, I am truly sorry and I know there are many situations out there that are heartbreaking.  The good thing is, you can be that yourself, whether you are a mom or a mentor, you can give someone hope.  You never know how you can be used to pour into a life until you do it.

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