Simply Loved:: Honoring My Mother
She taught me how to make bread, how to sew, and how to grow things in a garden. She modeled for me what it looked like for a person to incorporate physical activity into their everyday life— by taking walks, by jogging alongside your kids on their bikes, by riding a bike to and from work on sunny days, by considering a rain walk and puddle-jumping session the equivalent to P.E. those three years she homeschooled me and my brothers. And she showed me what book lovers often look like in the evening: propped up in bed by pillows, head conked off to the side, eyes closed, lips pursed, fast asleep with the table lamp still on and an open book on her chest.
When I was in high school, she would come into my room at bedtime, sit on the edge of my bed, and rub my feet while we chatted about the day. Whenever I apologized for being long-winded or dominating our talk-time, she made sure I knew that there was nothing to apologize for— she genuinely loved listening to me. If we were driving somewhere and I was telling a story, she would often miss the exit on the freeway because she was so engrossed in whatever tale I was recounting.
She was silly and approachable, fun and creative, beautiful and encouraging, inquisitive and kind. I have always felt loved and wanted by her.
After having two sons within 21 months of each other, when she found out she was pregnant with her third child, she told God: “This BETTER be a girl!” At the time, my dad told her “I’m not sure you can demand things like that from God.” She did anyway. Perhaps needless to say, after she delivered that third baby and the doctor announced “It’s a girl!” she was delighted. That third baby was me. So I guess you could say I’ve been treasured since Day One.
She used to make dresses for me. One dress in particular— a mint green polkadot one with white lace edging— sticks in my memory: it hit about mid-thigh, was ridiculously comfortable, and had a pretty sheen to it. I loved how its silky material felt on my skin as I ran around and played.
It’s hard to try to remember specific events from my childhood. Mostly I just have warm feelings and snippets here and there of interactions we had. I remember being in the woods somewhere and my mom stopped and bent down to look at a small cluster of flowers along the side of the path. I remember her pointing out to me how the same God who created the entire universe and the large trees nearby also fashioned this tiny, perfect, intricate little flower with hairline stripes on the petals, a minuscule little stamen, and it’s teensy-weensy stem and itty-bitty leaves. I had never thought of God in that way before— His precision amazed me. And she is the one who introduced me to that perspective.
She had beautiful handwriting, taught calligraphy classes at a local art supply store, and was great at drawing. Each December, she would handmake our annual Christmas newsletter and let us kids color in whatever cartoon drawing she added to that year’s correspondence. Her creativity and talent always inspired me.
She and I collected spoons and watched Anne of Green Gables together. We went on walks and went to plays with each other. We borrowed books from the library, flew kites, and played on playgrounds at Lake Elizabeth together. We laughed at stand-up comedy, danced silly in the kitchen, and ate raw cookie dough together. She was my trusted confidante and my friend.
She simply loved me. In normal, everyday, ordinary, yet extraordinary ways. Through PBJs and shoe-tying. Through smiles of encouragement and kisses on ouchies. Through homemade Halloween costumes and little silver heart post earrings. Through trips to the orthodontist’s office and help with makeup on prom day. Through tearful hugs when boys broke my heart and angry tirades when girls stabbed my back… and through gentle foot rubs at the end of a school day.
And even still, all these years later, with all these miles between us, she loves me in those simple, regular ways: with prayers over the phone line and a listening ear and fun trips to the waterslide park when she’s in town and thoughtful cards with kind words.
It was true back then and it is still true today: I am so utterly thankful God chose her to be my mom.
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What about you?
Who has made a big impact in your life? How can you show or tell them about how grateful you are for their role in your life?
Please feel free to share your journey in the comment section below.