Two years ago I was inspired to honor my mom on Mother's Day by telling her all the things that I love and admire about her. Many people wait too long to tell their parents how much they appreciate them and have to settle for a eulogy. I hope this encourages you to write down how much you love your mom or dad and share it with them. If your parents have passed, honor them anyway by writing it down and sharing it with your siblings or children.
Mother's Day 2008
This year, for Mother’s Day, I wanted to give my mom so much more than a gift or a card. I have no doubt that my mom would appreciate another funny card or kitchen gadget, but I new that the card would wind up in the trash and the thing-a-ma-bob would eventually end up lost in one of the many black holes masquerading as a kitchen cabinet or drawer. So, instead I decided to pen something for posterity. I know this letter will merely scratch the surface of my deep adoration for my mom but it will be truest offering I can give.
With mother’s day just around the corner, I couldn't help but think back on all your years of mothering. As thoughts and memories flitted through my mind I found myself laughing out loud, sighing deeply and brimming with tears. Some of these thoughts might seem partial and incomplete, but they are the patchwork of my childhood. Undoubtedly you will remember some of these events, other memories might just be mine, but I wanted to share them with you and the life lessons they taught me all the same.
Do you remember when I cut my finger on the glass pitcher I broke, the one you told me not to touch? I learned a lesson in obedience. Do you remember the phase when I loved to play in the mud behind the garage? I learned about the satisfaction that comes from getting your hands a little dirty. Or how about making butter cookies with the avocado-green cookie press? I learned about quality family time. Do you remember the time I thought vinegar would be a good flavor for a pie? You taught me about taking risks. I still can’t believe you actually let me do that or that you tasted it. The home-made puzzles with the paint palette spinner taught me to be creative and resourceful. Seeing you off at the airport on your way to El Salvador taught me about being an ambassador for Christ. I know we both lost count of how many nights you held my head over a toilet bowl or bucket, but each time you did, I learned about sacrifice. When you pulled fiberglass from my knees after crawling on the floorboards of the boat or you brought me warm jell-o water when I was sick you taught me about compassion. Do you remember the time I got carsick and you washed the side of the car off with the last of the apple juice you promised me? I learned to laugh at my mistakes. When you sponsored a child from Latin America Child Care or filled shoe boxes with toiletries and gifts to send overseas, even though money was tight, I learned about generosity. When you cleaned houses and the church I learned about doing my part to make ends meet. I know you remember when I came home from school with head lice. The hours you spent washing my hair with RID and combing my long, tangled, sensitive mane taught me about patience. Do you remember the time you pulled your hair out with the drill press and you ran, bleeding, to the Scott’s house? Of course you do, that taught me to ask for help when I need it. And the bun you used to cover your bald spot afterward taught me to use what you got. Do you remember the lazy summer afternoons reading Ann of Green Gables on the old tan couch or Hinds Feet on High Places before bed? I learned to get lost in a book. When I had to save up my money for months to buy my own roller blades, I learned the value of a dollar. Can you count the number of boring awards ceremonies I put you through? I've lost track, but I learned you were my biggest fan. I don’t know how or why it happened, but do you remember the time you came to me and asked my forgiveness for how you handled a situation? I learned a lesson in humility. I remember the night you kept me home from the Clovis High v. Clovis West football game. Just when you were feeling sorry for me and were about to change your mind, I threw fit and you remained firm. You taught me to stand my ground. Do you remember the time I brought 7 friends over for lunch while you were in the middle of decorating cakes? You didn't bat an eye and told us to help ourselves; I learned a lesson in hospitality. Seeing you diligently reading The Word taught me to have an appetite for being in my Father’s presence. When you held me close and let me cry on your shoulder, whether over a boy or a lost friend, you taught me empathy. When you cared for Grandpa while he was dying, in our own home, I learned the greatest lesson of what it means to be a servant. And watching you watch me walk down the aisle at age 19 taught me about letting go.
Mom, I will never be able to adequately thank you for all that you have done for me. Other than writing this letter, the best way to try and do that is by following your example. I hope that I will be able to pass the values that you worked so hard to instill in me onto Levi and the other children I will have. I know it won’t be easy and there will be times, as I am sure you have experienced, I will want to throw in the towel, but the reward of having my children rise up and call me blessed is to sweet to give up. Thank you for hanging in there with me, I think you’ll agree it has been worth it. I have heard it said and believe it to be true that the legacy of a great mom is lived on in the generations that follow. Mom, yours is no exception.