My Mother's birthday has just passed and Mother's Day is approaching - this is the time of year when I think about Mom. Maybe it's unusual that I don't take time to remember the anniversary of her death (2001), but it seems to me more fitting to remember her on days of celebration.
My Mom was not my best friend; we were not particularly close. Our personalities clashed. I spent my teenage years being embarrassed of her and disrespecting her. I spent my twenties trying to be kind to her, but thinking of all her faults and of all the ways that she had failed me as a mother. Now, in my thirties, whether because she passed away or because of my age and being a mom myself, I find myself realizing that although she did many things "wrong", she did the best she could and actually did some very important things "right".
It's too late to tell her thanks for all the good things she did, but I can share them with you. And maybe it's not too late for you to thank your mom for even the smallest things that she has done "right ".
Thank you, Mom.
I have to share a story that I think of often from my childhood. I was rather a difficult child to deal with - strong-willed, stubborn, selfish, cute, smart and funny - a bad combination!
One day, I announced to my Mom that I was going to run away from home. I don't even remember why - could it have been that they insisted on cooking hamburger soup over and over even though I clearly did not like it, or that I thought school was boring, or that making me do housework was child labor? - but I felt strongly (strongly enough to "announce" it, but not strongly enough to sneak away during the night). My Mom was surprised, of course, and didn't say much.
"I'm going to go pack my clothes now" I said, and off I went to my bedroom. I got out a doll blanket - not too big, not too small - and selected some clothes to fold up and put in the middle of it. Then I pulled up the 4 corners and tied it together, imagining that I was carrying my clothes like a hobo, which added a nice bit of drama to the whole thing. I took my time doing this, probably thinking that Mom would run in any minute and tell me to stop and that she would do x,y,z... to make my life better. She never came in. Finally, I went into the kitchen with my hobo pack, ready to go.
"I'm leaving now."
Here's the best part...Without even changing her facial expression, Mom asked me if I had far to walk. Wow. I hadn't thought about this possibility and told her I didn't know. She then asked if I would like a ride to the bus station. Wow. I bet she wished she could capture my facial expression on film. I stumbled over my words and said that might be a good idea. Then she kindly asked me if I was hungry.
"It's almost lunchtime. Do you think it might be a good idea if you have some lunch before you go?"
Relieved, I agreed to this and put down my hobo pack. I don't even recall what the lunch was - grilled cheese sandwiches, maybe. After lunch, I told her that I had decided not to leave. And I went to unpack.
"Brilliant!" you're thinking. How did your mom know to do all that? It was perfect; she called my bluff but still gave me an easy out so I wouldn't dig my heels in. Well, I found out years later that after I went to my bedroom to pack, she was panicking and worrying about how to handle the situation. She called my 1st-grade teacher for advice. He told her to stay calm, and gave some advice. She may have called our priest, also; I've forgotten some of the details. And I know that she prayed for strength from the Lord. So, by the time I came back out, she was prepared. And although you may not agree with how she handled the situation, I feel that it was just right for that time and my personality.
I found a couple of good lessons in this - one being that moms are not perfect and do not have all the answers. Another lesson is that we're not on our own - we have the Lord to go to for strength, our spouses to go to for support, our parents to go to for wisdom from experience, and our friends to give us encouragement and advice. We should never be afraid to say, "I don't know how to handle this - I need help", but we need to remember to go to the Lord first. He will hold our hand and guide us through.
I hope you enjoyed my story. Did you ever try to run away? How did your mom handle it?