I could possibly be the worst daughter on the planet.
Last Friday was my mother’s birthday.
Did I write about her like I write about other people who are dear to my heart when it’s their birthday?
No. I wrote about music. Seriously.
I remembered this fact at 11:30 p.m. on April 15. I didn’t forget her birthday – I can confidently say I would never do that. I had just forgotten to write about her. I was almost comatose when this startled me awake for a moment and I proceeded to make myself feel horrid. However, I was not coherent enough to get up and write so the post on music it was.
Even though we are now three days past her birthday, without further ado, allow me to tell you a little bit about the woman I call “mom”.
Ahh…my mother. She is perhaps the single most reason why I am even able to be upright in this world today.
The woman epitomizes grace to a degree I cannot fathom. She is forever telling me why I need to see things from other perspectives while at the same time acknowledging my own and usually siding with me because after all, I am her only child.
She listens well when I am unloading. She will then say things like “I know, honey. But you are doing such a good job with__________. It is tough and yet you do __________with such grace. Now, you are going to be OK. I am very worried about your schedule though. I just think you do too much, honey. Can you say “no” to some of these things?”
My mother is forever obsessed with my schedule and has told me that I try to do too much since I can remember. In fact, it’s a standing joke between us but nonetheless, after unloading on her, I feel heard. Even when my house is incredibly loud (which is pretty much always) and I feel that no one else is ever hearing me, my mother hears every word I speak. And acknowledges it.
Sorta reminds me of God.
I believe God gives us our children not for us to teach them about Jesus but to teach us about Jesus. Once I had my own babies, I started to develop a deeper understanding of the kind of love God has for me.
I fail often at modeling Jesus for my children.
My mother hasn’t always done everything perfectly either though and I love her for that. I turned out somewhat normal. It gives me hope. It makes me realize that we are supposed to sometimes fail at parenting. We are not Jesus. But we can certainly exhibit His love.
My children adore their Mimi. I think it is safe to say there is in fact wave of a “Mimi Fever” that sweeps through the house when her name is even mentioned and should she be on the phone, we all go into ballistics.
I would too if I was allowed to take a few Snickers bites to my bed when I have a sleepover at her house.
Perhaps the thing I love the most about my mother is her perspective – it is always realistic and often makes me realize that I might be a overreacting a tad bit.
When Susannah was born, I was beyond clueless. I had never really even held a newborn let alone be trusted to leave a hospital with one and actually be responsible for sustaining its life. However, I read, read, and read some more and soon became the resident expert on all things newborn. Admittedly, I thought that she would not remember my newborn days and if she could recall some useful tidbits, I assumed that things had changed so much and her advice would most certainly not apply to my modern 2005 baby.
When I would complain about the straps and buckles in Susannah’s car seat she would say “Heck, Natalie – I used to ride around town with you on my lap.” (Keep in mind this was 1973, friends.)
When I was a little overly-concerned about giving our children juice to drink, her response was “I used to give you Tang. It was good enough for the astronauts.”
Once when Sawyer was a clogged-up baby, she suggested I put dark Karo syrup in his bottle to “get things going.”
I distinctly remember telling her that is probably what the cave women used to do and it would no longer be considered “good for the baby.” I had not read that advice in any book and I had read them all.
I chuckled as I hung up the phone and dialed our pediatrician for some advice on how to unclog Sawyer.
You know what they told me to do?
Yes. Dark Karo syrup in the bottle.
This, of course, is not the first time my mother was correct and I know it certainly won’t be the last.
She has a wonderful, contagious laugh.
She enjoys sitting down with a glass of Chardonnay and having a good chat.
She loves good music.
She loves to read.
She is a former teacher.
Sounds kinda familiar, eh?
She is my mother. My perspective. The guard of my schedule. The only one who really truly does care when I am sick.
The one that remembers my first smile, my baby giggles, my toddler bumps, my child heartaches, my awkward preteen years, my on-top-of-the-world college days, my heartbreak after a failed marriage, my sadness after the death of my father, her ex-husband. The one that remembers my joy in meeting Mr. Right, the exuberance and terror of becoming a mommy myself, the tired days of mothering three young children.
And yet at almost 37, I am still her baby.
She is my mother. But now I can also call her my dear friend. My life raft. My lighthouse.