Sometimes memories spin so commonly in my brain I forget that I am not acknowledging them out loud. My Mom’s influence in my life is constant in what I remember and what I value. Here are some things I think about more often than I say:
*One summer, when I was 10 or 11 Mom drove me to the county library, registered me for my very own library card and then patiently waited while I wondered the aisles of books for as long as I needed. She did this weekly that one summer before the responsibilities of youth ministry claimed our summers entirely. I don’t remember ever feeling rushed in the library on those visits. Mom loved for me to read.
*Mom talked me into the big wedding I had always wanted but for a time was practically willing to set aside. Our wedding was one of my favorite and very best days. All of our people were together in one place that day. It wouldn’t happen that exact way ever again. I’m so thankful we had that moment.
*Mom defended a space for me to make my own decisions about church. As a minister’s family, we were always aware of certain community expectations about our participation and involvement. Mom held space in the sacredness of our private home for me and my sister to decide for ourselves. That must have felt scary. But the freedom was so important.
*My Mom served as a sponsor for cheerleaders and band, and she led entire school musical presentations that we were involved in.
*My Mom has taught cradle roll (Bible class for babies) for many, many years. She delights in watching the miracle of learning from the earliest stages of infancy and teaches beautifully into that season. It is no surprise that my first word was "Bible." It is still my very favorite book.
*Mom went back to college, while working as a teacher during the day, and received her bachelors degree in social work the same year I graduated from high school.
*Mom hosted the best and most creative parties. The supper club she and Dad were always a part of took meal planning and celebration to a whole new level.
*Mom really enjoys scary movies.
*My Mom doesn’t care a lick about watching most professional sports but she loves Nascar to the depths of her soul. She garnered this passion from her Dad.
*Mom has played bunko monthly with the same group of ladies for many decades.
*Mom is still actively engaged in relationship with people she went to kindergarten with. My Mom is a good, good friend.
*Mom worked for the State for two decades to bring comfort and rescue to hurting children and families.
*Mom spent years courageously healing from the physical toll that specific service cost her.
*Mom shops for and packs up over a dozen boxes a year full of some American goods we miss and she and Dad mail them to us for special occasions or just because we need it.
*My Mom loves my Dad.
*I know my Mom loves me.
*My Mom arranged and decorated our homes (we’ve lived in many) to make them welcoming. At dinner parties that Mom hosted it was very common to find folks’ shoes discarded here and there. People felt at home in the space Mom designed. She has always been good at that.
Especially for her own. Years have passed since Mom and I lived in the same space (or on the same continent for that matter!) but I always know I am welcome where she is. Even if I just show up. My place will be ready. That awareness comforts me deeply and I find myself thinking of it often.
These are just some of the Mom-memories that weave into my unique story and life purpose. Moments and glimpses and character and commitment that shaped me for the good. I could never write them all. Love as vast as a mother’s will never be wrestled into the confinement of mere words.
Nevertheless, I will keep using these: “I love you, Mom.” And “Thank you.”