This is Dedicated to the Mom I Love...
Having wonderful parents is a gift, a blessing. It's not always a common one either. The older I get, the more I learn of people who didn't have a similar experience growing up. Spring is almost here, just two days away. This time of year is always a strong reminder of my Mom. Her would-be birthday is this week, March 21st, so every year her birthday was on or near the first day of Spring. It's been nearly 17 years since my Mom left for Heaven and it seems like yesterday and a million years ago, all at the same time.
So much is different since she's been gone. I sometimes wonder if she'd recognize my life. I have two awesome kids she's never met and a wonderful new husband and family. But I somehow wonder if "seeing" them or knowing about them is one of her rewards. I'd like to think so.
Life wasn't always perfect growing up; it never is. But my parents taught us many lessons, so important that they guide my daily life. That's a true testimony of the people they were. Mom and Dad have been gone almost a quarter century combined, and still their influence plays into my life on a regular basis.
Both were Christians, both were funny and quirky, and both made sure we all learned the value of hard work, a dollar, honesty, and treating others the way we'd want to be treated. Every holiday growing up, my Mom would be busy baking cutout cookies. No ordinary cutouts, these were made with love, care, and creativity, making sure the cookie cutters matched the holiday or interest of the person she was making them for (turkeys for Thanksgiving, Santas, angels, and snowmen for Christmas, and Ninja Turtles for a grandchild). Then she'd arrange them baked, frosted, and displayed on a lovely covered plate to be delivered to a family member or more often, a shut-in or someone without many visitors or family. My Dad and I would set out on that task and I didn't like it. I was a shy kid (and a somewhat shy adult) and whether I knew these people or not, it was far outside my comfort zone to deliver these treats. But I did it and it would take me awhile to realize how delighted these older, lonely or ailing folks were when they received visitors AND cookies and to know they'd been thought of and cared about.
If my Mom was here, she'd likely tell you about all the things she'd done wrong. That was her humble way. But her 'right' things far outweigh those. Even though she hasn't met or known my children, it gives me great comfort to know that she prayed for them long before I was even old enough to date. She started praying for the man I'd marry, the children I'd have, and for their salvation very early on. That connection makes me happy.
But when I think of Mom I don't dwell long on any mistakes she made. As a mother, I learn from what she did, think on it, and do my best as a mother. When I think of Mom, I think of how funny she was. She was a proper, simple woman who never answered the door without makeup on and feared the invention of a video phone. She never felt right unless she'd had her several-mile brisk daily walk and quiet devotional time. When on vacation, we'd have to stop at each hotel and Mom would personally inspect prospective rooms for cleanliness before deciding if that was the one or not.
At family reunions she was in her element, making everyone laugh, sometimes playing little jokes. My quieter Dad and Grandpa would sit back and shake their heads and laugh, and I loved it. When she passed away suddenly, her legacy shone immediately. Phone calls of disbelief came and several of our childhood friends commented that she always made them feel welcome in our home and was a second mother to them. Others would comment that she'd sent them care packages at camp or college and how special that made them feel. She was a simple, humble homemaker, wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister who thought she wasn't really noticed so much, but the 100+ bouquets of flowers that arrived upon her entrance to Heaven, spoke volumes about how her life and quiet actions made a difference.
I love you, Mom. I miss you and Dad every day. I hope you're proud of me and can glimpse the lovely world and family I live in.