It’s Mothers Day and I’m thinking about my mom. She’s been gone seven years now and I think of her every day. Moms play such an important role in our lives, but yet there’s no prerequisite for it – no class you have to take, and no test you have to pass to be a mom. There’s not even a learner’s permit, for cryin’ out loud! You don’t have to fill out an application; they’ll let any woman with ovaries or cash in their pocket take a baby home. They don’t give you a job description or a Mom Manual that outlines what to do when your 2 year old is sitting in their car seat, shoving their tiny fist down their throat so they’ll gag and throw up because they’ve figured out that by doing so, they’ll get your attention. Man those little child-units can be smart little suckers, and yes, that happened to me. It’s a a thankless job that’s not for the faint-of-heart.
Some moms are naturals at it. Others are ill equipped to handle the job. Most of us just bumble our way through motherhood, trying to make a difference in our kids lives that will help them survive in life without too many scars so that they can take care of us when we’re old. And I would venture to say that all moms try to take what they’ve learned from their own moms – both the good and the bad – and wrap it all up with our own new great parenting ideas and traditions to produce a better and greater version of ourselves. But if you’re anything like me you’ll realize that there is so much more to raising kids. My greatest desire is that I helped my kids find the best way they can glorify the one who created them, and in the exchange I’ve found that being a mom is one of the most fulfilling roles I’ve had in life.
I always wanted to be a cool mom, so sometimes when I had to either be the bad guy or impart some profound wisdom on my kids I prefaced it with the words…”this is going to be a mom moment”. It was my way of giving them advance notice that what they were about to hear was going to change their life…or possibly be a little uncomfortable….depending on whether it was advice on relationships, telling them why they couldn’t get a motorcycle, or the sex talk. And in terms of equipping my kids, we chose to raise our kids in a faith that would sustain them through life’s ups and downs knowing that they didn’t walk this wacky life alone, and that there is one who walks beside them.
My mom is probably the person who made the biggest impact on my life. I was such a people-pleaser growing up, and there was no one that I wanted to please more than my mom. She was graceful and carried herself in such a way that made this clutsy tom-boy envious. She was the one who introduced me to my faith simply by watching her. Did she get it right all the time – Heavens no! But even at a young age I understood that what she chose to pattern her life after was a process – a journey – and that in life you don’t always get it right all the time. That’s where mercy and grace show up. But what she thought mattered to me, so even as an adult making new decisions, I would filter those decisions through the colander of “what would mom think”?
I had no sisters, and so I loved having relationship with her. She became one of my favorite people to spend time with (except for maybe during her menopausal years) and she was a friend. Was she perfect? Not by a long shot, but as with any relationship that’s worth fighting for, it takes hard work and patience. And lots of E.G.R (extra grace required).
There are a lot of things I would say to her if she were here. I would ask for her forgiveness for the many things that I was silently critical and judged her for how she handled something…until now that I’ve walked in her shoes. I would wrap my arms around her and lay my head on her shoulder and sigh…and let her know that I’m sorry I had the audacity to tell her that it was her fault that I was overweight because she fed me Homogenized milk, instead of Low Fat. I would tell her I know why she was a little cray-cray during my high school years (it was the hormones, mom!) and I wished I had understood that there was E.G.R. And I would sit at her feet and tell her how sorry I was that when I came home from college on weekends I chose to spend more time seeing old friends than I did just being at home with them. And I would tell her “I get it now”….now that I’m an empty-nester and miss my kids like crazy.
I’m sure I hurt her with my thoughtless words and actions time and time again, and yet, that’s what mothers do sometimes. We take it, and we choose to file those thoughtless moments in a file somewhere where, if we’re smart, we choose not to pull them out and use later. There’s a great mystery of grace there. A true mom moment! I suspect that my mom recognized in those moments that I was young and foolish, and gave me grace because she understood that one day I would walk this same path – and that when I did, I would get it. I would understand the pain of being blamed for someone’s own selfish choices. Or the hurt of being second best…of being misunderstood. That I would feel the sting of what it feels like to not be needed anymore.
I’m at that place – that crossroad where I can glance backwards and recognize the grace that was offered me, and in looking forward I have grace opportunities where I can make the choice to be quiet, knowing that there are those with more time ahead of them who will have light bulb moments when they’ll whisper “Oh….I get it now. I see what you did there Mom – you chose grace over condemnation.” If I did my job well, maybe that moment will come for them sooner than it did for me.
So on this Mother’s Day I’m thinking about and honor my sweet mom, Ruth. She taught me so much and who I am today was molded and shaped by her touch on my life. She was a keeper. I miss you, Mom, and it was my joy and honor to be your daughter. Thanks for the grace you offered me while you walked this earth. I am so grateful..and so I offer you grace back. What a great mom moment, indeed!