My mother is one of those women who has been a mother since she was a kid. As the oldest of four, she was a mother to her sisters and once she had me and my sisters, she became a mother to us AND all of our friends. This is a letter to my mother,
I dislike Mother’s Day cards, e-cards, and other dinky Hallmark sentiments because I don’t feel they do our relationship justice. They always fall short of saying what I need them to say and, in my mind, nothing store bought will ever sum up my love for you. Dad describes you as his “treasure” and I guess that’s the only way I can describe you, too.
You are a treasure. My treasure.
I was a SUPER shy child and remember vividly going to a Girl Scout meeting for the first time when I was 5. The door opened and I saw swarms of little girls running in circles laughing and screaming. I felt my heart jump up into my throat and I lost all feeling in my legs. I was too petrified to go in. Many moms would’ve forced their kids to go in anyways and “just try it” or “you’ll like it once you get in there”, but not you. You felt my fear, respected my space, and agreed to take me home and try again another time. You knew I’d eventually come out of my shell and you allowed me to move at my own pace without ever embarrassing me or shaming me for being “slow to warm up”.
Thank you for letting us be messy and dangerous (safely dangerous). I remember rainy days meant playing outside in the mud and catching craydads in the gullies. Baking together meant the possibility of a flour fight in the kitchen and cleaning was occasionally accompanied by Annie sing-a-longs or tying dishrags to our feet and skating across a soapy floor to “mop”. You never stifled our creativity or initiative and you always encouraged imagination. We never felt stupid or silly for pretending. In fact, I remember the time a stray chow dog wondered into our overgrown backyard (nicknamed “The Jungle”) and you allowed us to think it was a lion that wondered in to play jungle with us. You never fussed or hollered when we destroyed the living room building a fort or slid down the stairs in sleeping bags. You let us play!
I believe women have stronger intuition than men, but I believe YOU have a heightened intuition unlike any mother I’ve ever known. I never even had to walk to your bed after a bad dream, you knew instinctively when I needed you. If I was sick, you could hear me through closed doors and you were immediately with me, toilet-side, with a wet rag and a hair tie. I can only imagine how many sleepless nights you suffered through with us, but I don’t remember you ever complaining. You almost made it seem like you cherished sleepless nights and wiping up vomit with us because you loved us that much.
I hate to admit it, but you’ve also regrettably been a punching bag. You’ve let me scream at you, fight with you, call you names and all the while you were there loving me, hugging me, and holding me through the pain. You knew attacks towards you in anger were never really about you. They were about what was happening in my life and you always knew that and showed me unconditional love. I know it hurt and I’m sorry, but I thank you for demonstrating His love for me through you.
Needing and wanting your mother doesn’t stop when you’re an adult if your relationship is as strong as ours. During my struggle with infertility and countless diagnosis, you’ve been there. Thank you for calling me after every doctor’s appointment, driving into town for every surgery, not eating when I couldn’t eat and not drinking when I couldn’t drink. Thank you for being the hand I held as the anesthesia took hold of me and being the hand on my forehead as it wore off. My desire for a child of my own is so strong because of you. I want to love a child the way you’ve loved me.
You don’t take life too seriously. You don’t take yourself too seriously. You play hard, laugh hard, cry hard, love hard. You opened our home to sinners who were struggling and taught us to love everyone with open arms. Your heart broke for those who were sick, poor, lonely, unloved, or lost and you gave whatever you could that they needed. You loved God more than dad, and dad more than us and for that example I am thankful.