My mother passed away on my birthday in 2004, the year before the birth of my youngest child. More than anything, I miss my mom being a part of my daily life. You’re never too old to need your mother. So, in honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day — and in memory of my own mom — I want to share the story of a day, over a decade ago, that was memorable but also typical in the life of a mom.
I have what some might call a fancy education. I took six years to get a four-year degree and also married and had my first child during that time. In the months leading up to graduation, friends, family, and professors asked what I planned to do next. I realized more than any job, I wanted another baby. Ten months after graduation I gave birth to my second son and never looked back.
While my education helped prepare me to eventually homeschool my own children, I never imagined the gamut of emotions — from sheer terror to pure bliss inherent — in what, to me, is the greatest job in the world.
On just an average day, I experienced several of those moments that so often define motherhood.
Every mother who has had both a toddler and a set of stairs knows that awful sound: the thud, followed by wailing. I heard it and ran across the house, scared of what I would find. My twenty-month-old daughter lay at the bottom of the stairs, scared and hurt. I sat and held her until she stopped crying, while she marked my black shirt with iridescent trails of mucus, a visible badge of motherhood. Then she snuggled in close and popped her little thumb in her mouth, content. It wouldn’t always be so, but I was blessed with a moment when I was all she needed to make everything better.
In the afternoon, my ten-year-old daughter had her homeschooling program that teaches practical skills and needed to finish her project of sewing a tiered skirt. While I helped at my painfully slow pace, the other mothers and daughters seemed to fly through the steps. Then it hit me: my daughter didn’t seem to notice or care that I wasn’t as skilled as many of the other moms. She looked at me with adoring eyes, confident that I could guide her. The blind devotion of a child is a sacred trust, and I was humbled and honored by it.
After a long day, we headed to Moe’s for dinner. While we ate, I noticed two ladies seated close to us who seemed to observe our clan. This was not uncommon; a family of ten attracts attention. People don’t always understand why we would have so many children, and their attitude is not always kind. As they were leaving, one of the ladies leaned down and spoke in my ear, “Your family is adorable. Simply precious!” I never saw her again, but her words were not soon forgotten.
When I read Proverbs 31, verse 28 always jumps out at me: “Her children arise and call her blessed.” That’s what I want, what I can’t attain on my own, what has to be given to me, undeserving though I am.
On that ordinary day, my children beheld me as comforter, teacher, and the object of their affection. Though I seek to bless their precious lives, the truth is they bless me beyond measure.
This coming Sunday, I encourage you to honor your mother or your mother’s memory. If you have children, please join me in thanking God for them.