Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Everyday. Well, almost everyday. I look forward to our conversations - long distance between states, between lives, between families. My mom ranks right up there on my list of people-worth-knowing. I call her almost everyday.
If she were a drink - she would be something bubbly, with a rich gold color, full of flavor, a little old-fashioned - a Vernor's ginger ale. If she were an item of clothes - she would be a jeans jacket - white denim - with a little bit of sparkle - dress up or dress down - comfortable and classic in any circumstance. She'd be the turquoise in a jewelry box - standing out like a blue sky - anchored to the earth - anchored to life and family.
Some days, my mother speaks of wishing she had done things differently when raising her four daughters. "Why?" I ask. "Would you change us?"
"No", she smiles. "No, I'm proud of all my girls."
Maybe we should have done things differently - to make her life easier. To give her less worry. She purposefully tried to be the very best mom she could be - maybe we should have tried as hard to be the very best daughters we could be...
My mother. Has forgiven us those nights of worry. Has forgiven us that frustration - children not listening, talking back, bad attitudes, and poor choices. My mother encourages. She celebrates. She learns and shares. She listens.
Day after day - phone call after phone call - we talk. We talk about ordinary, everyday things. Her volunteer work, my school. Family. Church and home. We talk about cars, and washing machines, about cleaning house and losing weight. We talk about exercise. We talk about friends. Books and movies. Kids. Everyday, we talk. Precious moments - priceless.
Years ago, when I was a fairly new mom, I wrote a poem about motherhood. It's kind of like two sides of a coin. I think I took my mother for granted - for a long time - not realizing the fierceness that was motherhood. Because I was on the receiving end. After my daughter was born, the coin flipped. Now I was doing the protecting; I was doing the worrying; I was singing the night-time songs; I was doing the planning and detailing of our everydays. This poem isn't about not receiving good mothering - it's about discovering what good mothering is all about... And the things I know about mothering - I learned those things from my mom.
I Never Knew
I never knew mother-love, mother-pride or gladness.
Never tasted mother-fear, nor drank of mother-sadness.
Living in the quiet heart of singing lullabies,
The pulling, lusty life-joy in a newborn baby’s cry.
I never touched the steely strength of mother-confidence,
Or suffered lonely outcome teaching independence.
The fierceness of protection, the glimmer of delight,
The pain, the thirst, the hunger, the ache to ‘make things right’.
Never noticed homey details, nor stopped to wonder ‘why’?
Never sensed the sacrifice inside a mother’s sigh.
I never thought I’d understand or feel the way I do
Till I became a mother...I simply never knew.
Heavenly Father, Lord of the Universe, thank you for my mother. Especially for my mother. Hold her in your hand and let her rest in your peace and in your love - let her feel your pride in her - in her life well done. Thank you for my mother.