Two weeks ago as I left to go to the hospital for my surgery, she was there hugging me goodbye. I saw the concern in her eyes, the touch of weariness. “I love you, Mom,” I whispered thickly as we embraced.
This is how it has been for her these past years. She watches me go with Brian and waits for me to come home. She cares for my children and my home while I am gone. I put myself in her place and marvel at her great sacrifice. As a mom, I know she is dying to be with me, yet rarely has she gone to appointments or surgeries with me. When I had my first port put it, Bri was out of town, and she went with me, and when the panic attacks set in after having my poor veins brutalized, she was quick to step in and firmly and efficiently got the help I needed.
She has so often been the help I needed. Since the day I married Bri, she has never stopped being my mom, but she has stepped back to let him take the role that belonged to him. She has given us the space to leave and cleave, and I know it hasn’t always been easy. She has taken care of us every step of the way and worked hard not to overstep bounds as a mom and grandma. She has honored us well.
Mom and I have been close since I was small, and while we didn’t have a perfect relationship, we’ve had a healthy one. Even as a teen, we got along. I enjoyed her company. (Side note: this gives me hope for my children’s teenage years. I so often hear how awful those years will be, how the kids will hate their parents, etc. I know for a fact it doesn’t have to be that way. It wasn’t for me.)
She’s in that middle place. That place where her parents are declining and her daughter is fighting , and she serves constantly. I often wonder when it is her turn to get a break.
And it’s not just me she serves. She serves her friends, always ready to offer a ride to the doctor or make a meal or sit by someone’s side to just keep them company.
That’s who she is.
People tell me all the time how spoiled I am (I sometimes say it, too), because my mom is here and so amazingly helpful. The truth is I am blessed, but not spoiled (unless you consider cancer four times being spoiled). She is doing what she is called to do, and God has chosen my path, that my mother and father would live close and be able to care for us the way they do.
Today is her birthday, and I try to come up with words. But they fail me.
Words like servant, wise, hospitable, funny, kind, strong, striving for godliness, diligent, great cook, loving, faithful wife, gentle, honest, hopeful, beautiful, humble, role model come to mind. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. She is so much more.
This morning she was my first thought.
Then I thought about those who don’t have mothers whether it is because of death, divorce or dysfunction, and as I imagined my world without my mom in it, my heart stopped and I found myself weeping. So I prayed.
I prayed for you, my friends–for any of you who don’t have your mother with you… for whatever reason it is. I ache for you and I prayed that God would provide for you exactly what you need in that area. I asked for comfort and peace.
And I realized that this is exactly what my mom would have wanted me to say and do for her birthday.
Isn’t she beautiful?!