Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Mother's Gift

I hope everyone had a beautiful celebratory Mother's Day weekend with their families. I know this post is a little late, but I've been working on it here and there. This was not my first Mother's Day, but it was the first with my daughter. Even though Hugh had to work, I had a very special day with my children. I made muffins for breakfast. We also had bacon, sliced bananas, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and milk. I had roasted almond coffee, as a special treat. I got up early, before the children, so I could have everything ready, and we could enjoy it together, without feeling rushed. We had a lovely morning of worship and fellowship at church. I really look forward to church on Sundays. Trey made me my very first handmade Mother's Day gift. His Sunday school class made an impression of their hand prints with their name, date and a little heart that said I love you Mommy-too cute! I mean, can it get any better than that. I was going to spend the afternoon playing outside with my lovies and planting flowers in honor of my mother, but it was cold and rainy, so we played indoor games and took a long nap. Then we took a drive. We came home and danced to our 60 years of Disney album. After dinner and baths it was time to wind down with our nightly rituals (a bed time story, rocking, singing hymns and praying together.) It was a wonderful day.

This is the first year I've really allowed myself to think about my mom. I mean I've thought about not having her here for Mother's Day, and not having the chance for my children to know her. But up until recently, I haven't really been able to think about her and remember her without getting upset. It just hurt too much. Today, I'm able to think about her and smile. Because I'm finally able to think about all that she meant to me (and will always mean to me,) and celebrate that with joy, instead of dwell on all that I have lost. It takes time, but I'm getting there slowly. As Mother's Day has been approaching, I've been filled with a swell of emotions and memories, in a really wonderful way. Some of the things I treasure most as a mother are...

The sound of giggles and deep belly laughs- (both of my little ones have very husky belly laughs)

The silly, wet mess we make at bath time

Watching Trey dance, sing and talk to himself in front of the mirror

Anna Grace's Miss America wave

When Trey asks me to sing to him- and how he sings with me

Anna Grace's big, beautiful smile that makes her eyes disappear into two little half-moon slits

Jumping on the bed with Trey-(yes, I know I'm not going to win any mommy awards for this one, but it's so much fun!)He loves pillow fights, summer-salts, -all rough and tumble play. I love that he wants me to play with him. He'll climb up my back, over my shoulder, and sit in my lap just to kiss me and say, "Mommy- Zerbies!"

I love that Anna Grace is such a girly-girl. She already plays with her dolls and teddy bear. She will pick up any shoe by the laces, put it on her shoulder and carry it around like a purse. She also likes to brush her own hair.

Trey's language development. It is so funny how he associates things too. Stars-aka the mall (b/c of the big star on the Macy's sign,) cheesy-cheese-aka Chuck E Cheese

Anna Grace loves to help me with laundry. She will take out the socks and wash cloths and make a big pile on the floor next to her. Or sometimes she'll take them to her room and put them in her bed or in the bottom drawer

The clean smell of my babies after bath time. I love to breath in that smell as I rock them before bed time

I love when Anna Grace falls asleep cradled in my arms, or hugging me with her head on my shoulder

I love how lately Trey comes to wake me up. He will snuggle me and give me morning kisses, then pull off the covers and say out mommy, out!

I could go on forever. The more I write, the more that comes to mind. And it all makes me think about what I cherish about my mom, as well.

I love that my mom wasn't afraid of hard work. I've seen her sweating and dirty. But I also saw her beautifully dressed. She always carried herself in a quiet, graceful way.

Her daily beauty treatment included- always washing her face with Noxema, always applying lotion (head to toe) after showering, only using liquid make up (including a cream blush,) she would always curl her eyelashes and line her lips before applying lipstick, she always wore jewelry (even when she was casually dressed down, and she always smelled of Chantilly-her favorite perfume.

Momma loved plants and animals. We always had pets- dogs and cats. We even had a squirrel once. She found a baby that had lost it's mother and fallen out of a tree. She nursed him back to health, raised him and then released him into our back yard, where he lived in a 50 foot high tree. We know he stayed there because he would still come down the tree and eat out of her hand. She fed the neighborhood cats and even a family of raccoons-(she loved to watch them through the kitchen window as she washed the dishes. They would wash off the food she'd leave for them under a leaky facet outside.) She helped our poodles and shiatsu birth their pups, and I remember her bottle feeding a box of kittens that had been abandoned, until she found each of them a home.

On to plants...She had a green thumb. No really people, we had an 11 foot high corn plant (indoors) along with a 9 foot rubber plant, and various other plants, large and small. She loved hanging baskets and ferns. I always got her a new one each year for her birthday or Mother's Day. Daddy always brought home a Christmas cactus or poinsettia during the holidays. It never failed to bring a smile to her face. The most beautiful of all her plants were her flowers, pansies, four o'clock, magnolias, tulips, and roses. One of the sweetest memories I have of my mom is waking up to the fragrance of her fresh cut roses. She would leave a vase on my night stand every so often.

She loved to read. She was an avid reader and visited the library on a regular basis. She didn't buy books very often, but the ones she did buy she would then give away after reading them.

She was very sentimental and tender hearted. I could always count on her to cry with me during a sad movie. You could share your confidences with her, and she listened, and if you cried, she would hold your hand and cry with you. If something touched her heart, she wasn't afraid to show her emotion. Many people find this a weakness, but to me it is a strength I admired in her.

She loved children. She was a 4-H, Sunday school, children's church, VBS leader. She always volunteered as a helper for school functions and she eventually had her own daycare. She wanted her daycare to be as much like "home" as possible. She always had a birthday party for the children she cared for, complete with a cake, ice cream and presents. She had a costume at Halloween and gave pictures to their parents. She always had a big celebration at Christmas with music, food, presents, a tree and lots of decorations. I remember helping her in the summers take the kids swimming, to the park to feed the ducks, or the library for story hour. She even work out a deal w/ the local theatre one summer when one of the Disney movies was out-(I think it was either Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast,) to bring all of her kids for a dollar a piece. They could also buy a coke and candy for a dollar. She always tried to provide fun activities for the children. She was loving, but very, very strict. She didn't put up with mess or disrespect of any kind, and she was known she raise her voice. This is something I didn't like or agree with, but no one is perfect. (I also understand her better now that I have children of my own and have been a teacher for some time. It happens. We all have moments we are not proud of.) Most importantly the children knew that she loved them and they loved Miss Ooocy!

I admired how giving my mother was, but always in a discrete way. She understood growing up poor and accepting a handout as hard to take and embarrassing at times, even when it is given in kindness and is greatly needed and greatly appreciated. So, she would do things to help others in a very quiet, behind the scenes kind of way. If someone needed food or money, it would just show up, and they need never know who it came from. She often helped people, whom others had given up on. She rooted for the underdog, and though she was often disappointed and taken advantage of, she never stopped giving. She believed in second chances.

My mom taught me how to love and serve others. What I am about to share- I've only shared with a few people, but I think it is a true example of the strength of her character. It was the night before Christmas eve about ten years ago when Momma and I were busy visiting and baking in the kitchen, and we ran out of golden raisins, we needed for her recipe for pumpkin bread. So, we decided to make a quick run up to Sunflower food store. While we were there, we noticed a family in need of a little help and some Christmas cheer. They were in line buying meat, vegetables and bread for Christmas dinner. They had two small children, a boy and a girl, who like many young children asked for a treat. It was heart breaking to see their parents try to explain to them that they couldn't afford the treat and what they needed for dinner the next day. We also noticed they were paying with food stamps. -Now I know there are alot of people out there that abuse the system, but this family wasn't in line with steaks and beer. You could tell they were a hard working family who needed a break. Momma whispered that we should do something for them. We wondered if the parents could afford to give their children presents that year. We had toys left over from her daycare Christmas party and the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes we do every year. We secretly followed the family home to find out where they lived. Then we went home to wrap up presents for the little boy and girl who lived there. We were giddy with excitement! We left the presents and a Christmas card for the family on their front porch for them to find the next morning. We never got to see their faces when they found the surprise, but that wasn't what was important. It was the giving that mattered. That's just the kind of person my mother was. She tried to instill in me compassion, kindness and a servant's heart through her own actions.

The best gift my mom and dad ever gave me was a song they dedicated to me one Christmas. It was Child of Mine by Carole King. They said they were driving somewhere, when the song came on the radio, and they said they got to talking about how it reminded them so much of me and how they felt about me. They wrote all of this in a card and gave it to me along with the CD for Christmas. It meant the world to me! I couldn't add it to play list so you could hear the song, but here are the lyrics...

Although you see the world different than me Sometimes I can touch upon the wonders that you see. All the new colors and pictures you've designed Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.

You don't need direction, you know which way to go. And I don't want to hold you back, I just want to watch you grow. You're the one who taught me you don't have to look behind. Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.

Nobody's gonna kill your dreams. Or tell you how to live your life. There'll always be people to make it hard for a while. But you'll change their heads when they see you smile. The times you were born in may not have been the best. But you can make the times to come better than the rest. I know you will be honest if you can't always be kind. Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine. Child of mine, child of mine, Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.

Child of mine, child of mine Oh yes, sweet darling So glad you are a child of mine.

Blessings to all!


Amy said...

It brought tears to my eyes to see you and your mom (Miss Lucy) in that photo. I remember the Mary Kay Party the three of us attended at one of your coworker's homes from Briarcliff School. I remember going out to dinner afterwards too.

Tiffany said...

Oh Amy- you're so sweet! I miss you so much! I wish you were here, so we could go shopping together or have coffee! Give Emily and your mom a hug for me, ok!

luvmy4sons said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Lovely post. Hugs to you!

kmom3 said...

What a beautiful and tender post! I know your mom would feel so loved! I am glad you are able to do a post like this about her and about being a mom. I am glad you shared your memories!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Denise said...

I really do understand, love you my friend. Such a beautiful post.