Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother's Day.

 In part, I am full of emotion, but struggle to put together the words.
 The memories flood my soul, which bring joy to my heart and a smile to my face.

But it is a bitter sweet day, as mom has been gone 5 years. It doesn't get easier, it just gets different.

Facebook is flooded with pictures of women laughing with their mothers and wishing them well.
 The stores are saturated with mother's day cards and flowers.

 I carry a single carnation to my mom's grave today. And this is my version of handing her a mother's day card. One she will never read or see, but words well deserved for a mom who has left me a legacy in her absence.

 I rejoice today because I am a mom of 2 wonderful children. They bring me thrills and they bring me frustrations. They teach me and stretch me. They help me become a better me. Sometimes along this journey, I miss my mom fiercely, wishing I had her to talk to, to understand how in the world she put up with the emotional me at 13, as I know I am now walking that same crazy path with my own 13 year old daughter.

 I have been spoiled today by my family with heartfelt hand written cards from my kids, who know that no matter how old they get, I will always embrace the hand written words.  I have been showered with unexpected gifts, things my kids have remembered me saying through the months of "I wish I had that..." . And Michael has smothered me with flowers and some amazing cooking. I am enjoying what it means to be a mom.

 And I am remembering my own mom.

 As I sit quietly by her grave today, I know there is no magic in where her tombstone is. This is not a place where she is physically. I don't often come here. But today, there is beauty in the stillness. There is a closeness somehow, even if just for a few quiet minutes in my day. No one is talking and there is no media shouting.

 It's the birds- which my mom so loved to observe- and the green grass, and me.

 The wind whips gently around me, evidence of God's embrace in my life.

 Mother's Day will always be bitter sweet.

  For the thousand memories I hold of mom, I experience the newly made moments, knowing how she would enjoy them, were she here.

 For the legacy she left behind, I hope to grow to become like my mom was.

  For the laughter she found in the every day moments, I hope to be clothed with the same attitude.

   As I sat and helped Joseph in the late hours of the night this week with his book report, I recalled how my mom sacrificed hours of sleep countless times to help me with my projects. I had the funniest memory come to me  when I was in third grade, I had a solo in the school Christmas play, and mom spent hours sewing a costume for me- a red and white cow costume.  I don't know what brought that to mind, but I smiled at that.

 Mom never complained. Mom never asked for more. She gave all she had.

  When I lost mom, I lost the biggest cheerleader I ever had. She was at all my soccer games when I was the worst player ever (not an understatement, I seriously was.) She came to my basketball and volleyball games. She sat in the audience at all my plays, multiple nights of them, just to be there for me.

  Mom came to all the football games because I played in the band. She cooked meals and she drove me everywhere . (I didn't appreciate that at the time... now I fully understand how much time and gas that took.)

 My mom was there when my children were born, and while she wasn't here when I miscarried, she was there in presence and letters, because she, herself, had lost a child -  after delivery.

 Mom prayed for me, every day. Something special that mothers do best.  Something I've rarely heard anyone say to me since.

 Mom sent me scripture notes and encouraged me in my faith.

 She taught me to clean and taught me to bake. But more than that, she taught me that those things don't matter in the scheme of life- time with each other is what matters. She would sometimes put aside cleaning or chores to play a game with me. We played hundreds of hands of Dutch Blitz and multiple other games. We laughed until we cried. We sang songs. She told stories.

 One time when mom was in the hospital, she was pretty ill, and couldn't speak, but her sense of determination and humor remained. The kids were fairly young and we sat in her room. We decided to play a game. We would make up a story and every time a certain word was said, someone would have to make a trumpet noise. It was sort of like learning a new word kind of game. Anyway, mom made the trumpet noise and there were times we said the word as often as we could that instead of trumpet noise, we would all just laugh. My kids remember that.

 My mom taught me to love.
  Love with all I have.
   Never give up.
     Be true to who I am, to who God has made me.

Mom cared for me when I was sick, even to a point of lying on my hard floor the night after my tonsillectomy. She got up in the night with me when I couldn't sleep. She read to me.

I  can remember getting up and finding my mom so many times sitting at her desk, early in the morning, reading her Bible and praying. She lived faith and taught me faith.

 She had her flaws- everyone does. But more often than not, she chose joy over sorrow. She laughed instead of cried. She hugged me instead of saying angry words. She loved me when I was unlovable. She cheered me on when others laughed. And she stayed by my side, even when she disagreed with me.

 To an average person on the street, she may have been just another Cedarvillian. But to me, she was my mom. My hero.

 Mom is gone, but her legacy lives on.

 I hope that I can one day leave that same legacy. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.

 Today, when I sat down to write, I don't want this post to be sad. I miss my mom, and a part of me will always shed tears over her absence. But, she is in the perfect place. She lives in Heaven. And one day I will see her again.
  I will miss her forever. But forever here on earth is just a drop of time in the bucket of eternity.

 I am grateful for the legacy my mom left me.  I hope that I can leave a legacy and live like my mother did. In the Rachael kind of way, but with the Linda touches laced all through out it.

 So, while this is the most non-traditional mother's day card that will never make its way to a Hallmark shelf...

 Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
  You lived, you laughed, you loved
   You taught, you played, you disciplined.
You cheered, you cried, you prayed.
    You defined motherhood for me.
You inspired me to be a better me- always- and you continue to do so.
    You can never be replaced.

 The memories live on.
  The tears fall occasionally, but mostly, I smile.
  I hope that I can be a mother one day like you were.
And those lessons, those memories, and that legacy
 is the greatest gift you ever gave me.

 You may never have worn a cape, but you will always be my superhero.

Happy Mother's Day.

 You are not here, but I will celebrate you anyway.
 Today and every day.

Because you were an amazing mom.

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