~Welcome, to the fourth story in our series, beYOUtiful Mom! ~
Contributing Writer: Leslie Foster
It is that time of year again. Reminders are everywhere to buy your mom a card or flowers or candy.
And so you should. Don’t forget your mom!
This is my eighth Mother’s Day without a mother. I had a wonderful mother for twenty-four years, and then she went to heaven in December of 2004. I miss her every day. I still think about calling her when I feel lonely or confused or need good advice. My mom lived a couple of weeks after we found out the cancer had returned, and that this time it was going to be terminal. I had a little time with her before she left, for which I will always be thankful. But you’re never ready to lose your mom.
It’s never long enough.
How do you fit in the decades of help, comfort, love, support, encouragement, laughter, and tears that you’re about to lose? You don’t.
And so, years later, I regularly think about things that I wish I could say to, or ask, my mom. Things I wish I could just hit a speed dial button to resolve. Since that isn’t possible, I decided to make a list, in honor of Mother’s Day. Because my list represents some of the things that a mother does, and more importantly, many of the things that a mother is.
-I wish that I had asked you to teach me so many things.
How to make pie crust. How to preserve food. How to make leaded glass.
You taught me all kinds of things. I’m the only person I know who can put a caned seat into a chair (and I did that a few years ago; you’d have been proud of me). Thanks to you I can cook and clean; name all the primary and secondary colors; sew; use tools; give a cat medicine; write a mean thank-you letter; and I have never once run out of gas (I think it counts as “teaching” when you ran out of gas that time, and you told me not to tell Dad, right?). Like I said, you taught me a crazy-lot of stuff. But on a semi-regular basis I wish you were still around to teach me the stuff that didn’t come up while you were here.
-I wish you were here to love me more than I deserve. I miss you thinking I am better than I am. I miss you thinking I am hilarious, and I miss you wanting to be with me whenever possible. I miss you picking up lunch and meeting me at the office, so we could enjoy a few minutes together. I miss running errands with you; sitting in the passenger seat and writing down the shopping list you dictate while you drive. I miss going with you to mother/daughter banquets, even though we complained the whole time about hating mother/daughter banquets. In short, I just miss being with you.
-I would ask you if there’s something wrong with me. Then you would make a joke about that; about there being something wrong with everyone in the family. And then we would get serious, and I would talk about how I’m 32, and still single, and how if there’s a way to be those two things and not question what’s wrong with me, I don’t know what that way might be. And you would be honest with me. Because you love me too much not to be honest. Maybe you would tell me something that hurts me. Or maybe you would tell me that there’s no big, glaring problem with me, and that I just need to wait for God’s timing. And either way, I would be annoyed, because being told we’re broken is painful; or because I’m tired of waiting and being told to wait. But I wouldn’t mind too much, because it would be coming from you. Proverbs says that wounds from a friend can be trusted (27:6a) As The Mom, you get to say stuff like that.
-I already dread not having you here for big moments in my future.
To help me pick out a wedding dress.
To give me advice.
To host some of the out-of-town friends who will come.
To have an opinion when I ask Dad and he (quiet honestly and yet totally unhelpfully) says, “I don’t care. Whatever you want is great!”
And after that, I’m gonna miss your wisdom when my husband and I have our first big fight. When we can’t agree and I don’t know what I should do. When we have to make big decisions that seem scary. And then, maybe one day I’ll become a mom, too. Who will I ask? Is this normal? Should I take her to the ER? How do you…? What if he…? When will she start…? Should he be sitting up/rolling over/walking/speaking by now? I won’t know, and you’re supposed to tell me these things. I know other people can tell me that stuff, but other people tell you opinions. Whatever your mom tells you is Gospel. I wish you were going to be here to tell me these things.
And yet my mom’s not here. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. I’ve pleaded and screamed and exhausted myself wishing. But she’s still not here.
So this Mother’s Day, if you are blessed to still have your mom, I hope that you will take some time to share with her how special she is. How important she is. How much you love her. Because whatever else your mother might be, she is part of you; she helped to make you who you are; she is a blessing.
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Images via flikr: Leonard John Matthews, 23 am.com, kurafire, josmetadi