Ethan said its a word that makes him feel safe and happy. 
Rachel said the word 'Mother' makes her think of home, warm yummy food and story time. 
Kara said "Um... I think of you!" 

I started thinking about this word last week, as I realized Mother's Day was fast approaching. When did Mother's Day land so early in May? It might just be me, but I thought it was always the 3rd weekend. Oh well... planning just got shoved into high gear.
I also realize that not every person out there gets warm, fuzzy feelings when they think of their Mother.
I happen to, but I know its not the case with everyone.

**Feeling like I have to give a disclaimer, letting every reader know that I don't think my Mom is perfection... and neither does she. But that would be a silly thing to say, right? We're all adults here, I think it goes without saying. Just in case though, there it is.

I love my Mom. Like, a lot. You can ask my husband how often she's mentioned, how many times he sees me on the phone with her, how many packages, letters and email notes arrive from Mom. What's beautiful to me is seeing how much Jason loves my Mom. I always hoped whoever I married would love her at least a little bit the way I do and see how fabulous she is, but I never wanted to force the feelings on anyone. So its pretty sweet to see how well they get along and genuinely like each other's company.

When I think of the word 'Mother' I actually feel all the things my kids do. I feel safe, happy, comfortable, easy, good food and delicious smells throughout the house, even story time; my Mom read books to us all the time. I also think words like 'loving, instruction, training, diligence, purposed, creative, wise,  fun, happy, giving, service and faithful.' To name a few.

My Mom didn't do all things well and I'm sure if you asked her {because I have} she would say there are things she would do differently if she could. Don't we all feel that way? I already do and I've only been a Mom for six years! You know how people will say "she did the best she could" ? I feel that way about my Mom. I look back and see that, sure, there are things she could've been better at, had more grace in, trusted God more, etc... but on the whole, I believe my Mom did her best job. She put her heart and soul into raising 5 children, only 2 of which she actually gave birth to, and never made me, for a second, wonder if she regretted being a Mom.
I heard a little girl in Target ask her mom "do you hate being a Mom?" The mother laughed and said "Oh, somedays I do." and I thought, wow... that question would've never come out of my mouth. Even when Mom was angry with us or fed up with having to tell us the millionth time to obey, I never, ever thought maybe she wished she wasn't a Mom.

I even thought of running away when I was little! I'm sure something wasn't going my way and so I packed my stuffed animals, some underwear and a book I loved, I tromped in the kitchen and announced "I'm running away" and my Mom shocked me by saying "Okay, come back and visit because we'll miss you." Hmmm.... wasn't quite how I thought she'd react. I walked outside and started my journey, heading home only 4 houses down, when I realized I can't cook and I'd miss my Moms' food. Oh and I wanted to hear the next chapter in the book she was reading. And then I convinced myself that even though I could handle life on my own, my Mom would surely die without me.
So I came back in the house, didn't say a word, just saw my Mom at the stove, she turned to me and smiled, then told me to empty my bag and to get ready for dinner. She knew it would be a short journey and I knew she needed no explanation.
And here I am 2 states away from her! Man... I guess it was a mistake that she taught me how to cook good food and read ;-)
But I miss her. A lot. I tell Jason quite often that I'd never give California a second thought if my Mom was here. And I'm dead serious. I'd miss other friends and family, sure, but that home sick longing would be gone. Because I don't long for a state or specific city {sorry Monterey... I love you, but not that much!} I long for our every day, close relationship we built with each other over the past 31 years. And every time Rachel comes to me out of the blue and says "I just really miss living by Nana." I cry. I tell myself I won't after a while, but I do, every time. I cry because I feel the same way and I hate that sometimes you can't have everything just the way you want it.

What I love most about my Mom - she's strong. And she's passed that strength and determination on in me. And I love that she's never called and whimpered about how we moved and took the Grandkids so far away {remember we lived 4 miles from her since Ethan was a baby} I love that she encourages me in my marriage; in my role as Mother to my 3 kids, she listens quite well, she still laughs out loud at my lame jokes,  and she's honest with me. I like that. I'm a fan of honesty. Sometimes its SO hard to hear and so hard to take, but I think when someone is genuinely, lovingly honest, that person is a keeper.
My Mom is selfless. Giving for her is a joy, it needs nothing in return. She doesn't brag and doesn't boast in herself.
She's going on 56 years old and has been a Christian more than half of those years, but is still very excited about the things God is teaching her. She's open and honest with me about her struggles as a young Mom, about her fears with homeschooling, about her failures in Motherhood and in marriage.

Being a Mom is such a hard job and I think its funny how its a million different things wrapped into one- Its so rewarding, its fun, its tiring, its triumphantly amazing and then it can be the thing that makes me feel like such a failure. Living life out in front of these 3 little people watching my every move, hearing my every word, seeing if I'm walking what I'm talking - its the most convicting thing I've experienced in life. And here I thought marriage would do me in! :)
I remember when I was pregnant with Ethan, wondering if I'd have enough love for this little baby. I loved Jason so much, I just kept worrying that in order to love your child that much, you have to love your spouse less. As if God can't give us love that stretches beyond what WE can see. Such little faith I have at times.
And with each baby God has given us, I'm reminded again at how much a Mother's love can replicate God's love. How much goes unnoticed, unthanked, unappreciated. How some kids will walk all over their parents, even dissown them, turn their back on them and be dishonoring to them, in adulthood.
Isn't that how we treated God, before He softened our heart toward Him?
And some people will die, cursing their parents and blaming them for all their mistakes.
Only to find out that their happiness and joy and success in life wasn't supposed to come from the two people that raised them. It comes from God.
Us moving far away and being unable for me to enjoy that close relationship with my Mom {face-to-face} has just proven to me that when all is said and done, God has to be enough. Christ has to be all I need. Because a person can't be what only God should be.

So tomorrow as I celebrate my own joy of being a Mom to my kids and I get the biggest kick out of seeing them all excited to bring me breakfast in bed and actually beaming as they celebrate the gift I am to them... I am celebrating my own Mom. I'm thanking God for picking her to be the woman who raised me.
I'm wishing I could be with her on this special day, but for me, I think every time I see her its a bit of Mother's Day in my heart.

If your Mom has passed away and you can't spend the day honoring her, with her, I'm so sorry. I'm saying a prayer for you all - that God would give you special blessings today; reflecting on the fond memories and joys you had with your Mom.
If you don't have a relationship with your Mom where you're able to actually "celebrate" her, I'm also so sorry. I would encourage you to do whatever you can {in your power and ability} to restore what's been lost. Even if you're not the reason its lost.
I don't think we have to force best friend relationships with our parents. Its not always the way it will be. But I think its good to restore any broken relationship if at all possible, the best that you can. At least let your Mom know you love her - because you know you do.

Mom, thanks for being such a blessing in my life. I think I have to thank you most, for pointing me to Christ, my truest Love, and for teaching me what it looks like to be His daugther.  I love you.

Happy Mother's Day! 

9 {comments}:

Lizzy said...

That was beautiful, Stef. I love your mom,too. I cried thinking of her, just knowing that all of this is so true! She is a wonderful mother and friend!

Mary Anne said...

Ok that was Mary Anne, not Lizzy!

Stef said...

Thanks Mary Anne! I know she misses you - you two should get together :)
I am incredibly thankful to God that as I journey through these early years of Motherhood, I have so many great examples (like you) to fall back and remember and even still look to for the good advice and inspiration :)
I wish my generation would realize how priceless the Titus 2 women are.

Charlotte said...

A beautiful tribute to your mom, Stef. Mother's Day is bittersweet for me; I love being a mom, but then all the mom/grandma appreciation notes do reminding me of what I am missing with my Momma in heaven. But I am only sad for a little while because of the 4 sweet blessings God has given me. Happy Mother's Day!

Gina said...

What a beautiful tribute! Your mom is pretty awesome, I'd have to agree. I love seeing the relationship you two have--it's wonderful. I hope both of you had wonderful mom's days, as you both deserve it. :-)

Liz said...

Beautiful post!

Liz said...

Beautiful post!

Jane said...

Thanks Stef, that was so beautiful, and very touching!! Our relationship is very special to me!
Thanks to Gina and Maryanne too-I love you both!
I know how you feel-
Mother's Day has always been a bitter sweet day for me too, because on the one hand I feel so loved and blessed to have my 5 children and their children--but it also reminds me how much I have missed sharing them all with my mom!

Charlotte said...

Thanks, Jane, for your sweet note. I know you had a lovely Mother's Day...and you are right, we are so blessed!


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