Our backyard is freshly mowed, and I lay out blankets on the grass like a child playing picnic. Only, I’m not a child and my hip is shooting pain, my canker sore is throbbing, my wisdom teeth are FINALLY coming in with much pain, and I’m really out here to take a nap. But, the Virginia afternoon is perfect and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
I get out an old journal so I can write down my blessings.
1. A quiet backyard that births azaleas, fiery pink.
2. Adamant birds that flatter me with their whistle.
3. Wind chimes (my Mother’s Day gift) whose high pitch reminds me of a child’s noisy play…and of my sweet girls.
4. Penelope Raine and her stubborn/angry/whiny/needy/difficult ways that I’m hoping are SOMEHOW growing me into the image of Christ.
My neighbor comes out and begins to cut azaleas from her side of the bush. I startle her by saying, “Happy Mother’s Day.”
We talk about the weather, then she says, “I’m just cutting these to put on my mother’s grave.” I smile sadly and tell her how much her azalea bush blesses our yard. “My mom would love that,” she says.
She leaves and I think about something.
Why wait until someone’s funeral to say how much they mean to you?
So many people have passed lately, leaving so much regret. Funerals are full of kind words for the deceased, but how sad that they’re not there to hear it.
I want to take some time over the next months (years?) to use my words to bless others. To tell them how their life has impacted mine and thank them for their footprints through it.
Today there is an obvious person to start with:
How did you do it?! Motherhood seemed to come so easy for you. When I think of my childhood, I think of sunshine flooding in through the windows and your voice, animated as though you were performing for a crowd of hundreds, reading a story to me. I can still smell the pages of “Snip, Snap, and Snur,” and feel the heat coming in through the register.
I didn’t realize then, but I realize now.
You sacrificed sleep, comfort, quiet meals, adventure, money, and a clean house to take care of me. I had no idea. I guess I just took it for granted all those years…thought that’s what a mom is SUPPOSED to do. Now, I see that a mom doesn’t HAVE to be sacrificial but chooses to be sacrificial.
You were patient because you recognized I was just a child. You made edible peanut butter play-dough for me and cleaned up after me. For years. You were there at all my track meets, wearing a button of me the size of a small wheel.
You were everything that a little girl could ask for in a mom: nice, loyal, helpful, patient.
But, you didn’t settle for that…You were so much more: excited, energetic, a picture of good health, positive, always taking classes and learning, hard-working, and just plain FUN (everyone who knows you agrees).
Now, as an adult, your qualities are still blessing me. But, the gift multiplies. Now my girls get to enjoy you too.
So, today, as the azaleas bloom bright and loud, I want to speak just as clearly. Thank you, Mom, for being just the best. I’m so thankful that God gave me a mom with such God-honoring qualities. I’m so thankful that you gave me a childhood full of laughter and joy. I’m so thankful for your sacrifices that have molded me into the person I am today.
I’m so thankful God gave you to me.
Your Annie B.