Thank You, Mom
This Sunday will be the 36th Mother’s Day wherein I get the opportunity to honor my mom and thank her for all the many ways she has blessed me over the course of my lifetime. (Of course, I can thank and bless her ANY day of the year— but this holiday is an especially great reminder for me because it says “Hey! Don’t forget to thank your mom for keeping you alive all those years growing up!”)
Now, don’t get me wrong: Mom and I have had our fair share of ups and downs—we have certainly faced some challenging seasons together… but all in all I am grateful to have had her as my mom. Just like the rest of us, she did her best given the cards she was dealt in life. And I am soooo grateful for all the love she has shown me throughout the course of my life.
Sometimes it is hard for me to get a handle on the magnitude of love-in-action my mom has shown me over the years… I have found that lists are a great way to help me focus (or re-focus!) and get perspective in my life. Lists have even been known to help me process through some of my most painful memories or relationships. They help me slow down and just notice. And “gratitude lists” are some of the most insightful lists I make!
With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some of the ways in which I have been blessed by my mom.
Things I appreciate about my mom:
- Her creativity.
- Teaching me how to sew.
- Teaching me how to make delicious meals.
- Teaching me how to bake and how to make homemade bread.
- Showing me God’s hand in even the tiny things He created— like on nature walks when we would stop and look at all the different flowers: Mom would always point out the differences between each flower and the intricacies in which they were all obviously fashioned by a very great artist.
- Taking me on rain walks as a kid— and letting rain walks count as fulfilling our “P.E. Requirement for the day” when I was home schooled in first, second and third grade.
- Having beautiful handwriting— I used to always try to mimic it so that my handwriting would be as pretty as hers… it didn’t work.
- Packing lunches for me and my brothers every morning before school.
- My sophomore or junior year of high school: she and my dad pulled me and two of my friends out of school for a day (with my friends’ parents’ permission) and took us out to Santa Cruz to spend the day and night at a motel out there— we just hung out at the beach, went out to eat pizza, and goofed off together… it was so much fun!
- Watching Anne of Green Gables with me over and over throughout the years.
- She and my dad took just me out to dinner— no big brothers allowed! I felt so special that night.
- Sitting on the edge of my bed many nights— maybe rubbing my feet or back, maybe not— and just chatting and laughing with me about my day.
- Never once did she read my diary!
- I remember once when she sang a solo at our church’s Christmas production— I thought she was so brave to sing in front of all those people.
- Teaching me to drive stick shift.
- Letting me borrow the family car until I was able to buy my own.
- Coming to cheer me on at my high school swim meets.
- Trusting me enough— and helping me to financially make it happen— to let me join up with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and, thus, leave the continental U.S. straight after high school. (As a mom myself now, I realize how hard that must have been to watch her “baby” go so far away.)
- Crying with joy to see me at the airport when I had a 2-hour layover at SFO on my way (with YWAM) from Hawaii to Costa Rica.
- Crying with me when I was 18 and found out my boyfriend had been cheating on me.
- Visiting Yosemite with me for a quick day trip just days before she moved to the other side of the country.
- She listens tirelessly. And even when I start feeling self-conscious because I’ve been “verbally processing” for awhile, she encourages me to keep on talking— I can’t count how many times she has said “No, don’t stop or feel bad! I love it! Please keep talking. I want to hear everything you have to say.”
- The many many times when she was driving and let me monologue and missed her freeway exit because she was so enthralled with whatever story I may have been telling her at that moment. It always made me feel special and like what I have to say matters.
- Flying across the country to come to my wedding— and helping me financially with my wedding as much as she was able to do at that time.
- Making the long drive and flight to visit me when I lived in the middle of nowhere and was about to have my firstborn child.
- Keeping my 18-month-old daughter safe and happy when I went into labor with my second child.
- Telling me it’s okay to have a messy house— especially when you have small children at home!
- Patiently, honestly and generously sharing her thoughts and feelings with me when I felt the need to ask her all the details leading up to her decision to divorce my dad. The conversation she and I had that day has provided me with a wealth of knowledge to arm myself so that I and my husband can avoid some of the pitfalls that she and my dad found themselves in. I will forever appreciate her candid honesty that day.
- Run/walking a 5K with me one year.
- Goofing off with me, my girls, and Nana Great that one night:
- Blowing bubbles with me and my kids on our porch.
- Coming to pick up the kids from school with me when she is in town— and making my kids feel uber special by excitedly touring their classrooms and seeing what all they’ve been up to at school all year.
- Spending the day with me and my kids at the local waterslide park the past 3 summers.
- Making and decorating stepping stones with me and my kids last Mother’s Day.
- Caring for my grandma last year when my grandma broke her back and had a plethora of other ailments in the wake of that trauma.
- After my grandma passed away last summer, my mom gave me the beautiful window-hanging stained glass that my grandpa made decades ago. She also let me choose which of my grandma’s old oil paintings I would like to keep. These pieces of art from the hands of my very own grandparents are simply priceless to me.
- Telling me how proud she is of me. Last year, there were two occasions on which my mom just gushed out all kinds of compliments and encouragements to me regarding who I am as a mom, as a wife, and as just plain me. It was so very affirming to me. I am a big “words of affirmation girl”— words mean a lot to me— so to hear it from the mouth of my own mother was indescribably encouraging to me.
Though my mom is a flawed human who has made mistakes over the years (just like me!), I have never doubted my mother’s love for me. She has always loved me the best she knew how; she has always been on my side, rooting for me and believing in me. I appreciate any prayers she has ever prayed for me and any kind words she has ever spoken over me. Even when she and I have disagreed, I have always known that my mom is proud of me and has always just wanted what is best for me.
Thank you, Mom, for all your love and care over the years. Thank you for keeping me alive and fed all those years growing up. Thank you for keeping a lid on your anger in all those moments that you must certainly have wanted to just blow up angrily at me or my brothers. Thank you for all the patience you displayed, all the self-control you exhibited, all the times you sacrificed your own time or desires or preferences in order to make something happen for us kids. Thank you for doing your best and trying your hardest to love us— and to love your husband— the best you knew how.
I really do appreciate you, Mom.
Words aren’t enough, but I try anyway: Thank you. I love you so much.
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What about you?
What do you appreciate about your mom or a mother figure in your life? (P.S. Even if you have a not-so-great relationship with your mom, I encourage you to at least attempt to make a list of ways she may have blessed your life… I have found that, in my own life, listing out “my gratitudes” is such a great way to refocus and get perspective.)
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.