Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
We all wanted to take this Mother's Day to tell our moms how much they mean to us.
How many tears have I cried simply because I miss you? Enough to fill the oceans, it seems. How much time have I spent wishing heaven hadn’t claimed you so soon? The hours have filled up days and the days have filled up years. So many of my experiences--like photos without you in them that fill up the pages of a memory book--have come and gone. It feels like an entire universe of time and space is between us. You in the bosom of the Father, and me still in the confines of a world full of pain. But though so much has happened, and though so much time as passed, my life is still covered with the fingerprints of your legacy. In some ways, it's like you never left.
You’ve been an example of generosity. I’ll always remember the little girls who used to call our family theirs. You were my mom first, but you never turned away someone in need.
You’ve been an example of faithfulness. While disease was taking its toll on your body, you never let it keep you from what was important. You were faithful to your job. You were faithful to church, even teaching Sunday School the very Sunday before you passed. You were faithful to your family. I’ll always look back on the Saturdays we spent together, shopping, talking, singing, and laughing, with the deepest gratitude. Those small moments became memories that carried me through many difficult days. Most importantly, though, you were faithful to the Lord. Never once did you complain. Never once did you claim He had left you. Instead, you left an example of a woman who would trust, despite the worst of circumstances, in a God who knew exactly where you were. That example helped me keep my faith in the face of your homegoing.
You’ve been an example of strength. You were sick. But I never realized just how sick. You never let anyone see into that side of the ordeal. Instead, you soaked up every minute with me that you could possibly get. It must have been tough, and I know you couldn’t have felt like it. But I know if I could ask, you’d answer that it was worth it. Now I carry that with me, remembering that every moment, despite the hardships and distractions, is an opportunity to rise above circumstances. Following in your footsteps, I’ve done my best not to waste my days.
So this Mother’s Day, we are ten years removed from the last time we celebrated together here on earth. Maybe soon we’ll celebrate our Savior together on the other side of time. But for now, it’s my first Mother’s Day carrying my own son. I’m a mother now, too. This year, It’s my prayer that I could take the lessons I’ve learned from you--generosity, faithfulness, strength, and so many more--and pass them along to my little family. Thank you, Mom.
Until we meet again,
I remember the times when you’d spread a black trash bag out on the bathroom floor and let me make the biggest mess with all my Playdoh: thank you for teaching me to create. I remember the summers you’d show us how to jump like a frog in the deep end of the pool: thank you for teaching me to play. I remember the road trips with you and different family members (going to the mountains with Aunt Alaine and all the cousins, visiting family in Tennessee and dancing around the room with Grandma, traveling to Canada with Daddy and the boys…): thank you for teaching me to enjoy the moment. I remember when you’d bring kids home from your Special Needs preschool class; like Faith, Tylik and Gabriel: thank you for teaching me to open my heart wide. I remember the times when I was injured (pink eye, chicken pox, broken thumbs, mono, busted lip, dislocated shoulder, broken leg, brain injury...) and as long as you were around, I knew I’d be alright: thank you for teaching me to care. I remember when you were the church treasurer and you’d spend hours every month making sure that each penny of God’s money was accounted for: thank you for teaching me to honor Him. I remember, year after year, following your lead as we passed out candy after church services to children in Central America: thank you for teaching me to give.
I remember watching as you experienced hurts and pains and how you’d always love anyways: thank you for teaching me to be longsuffering. I remember the times when you rewarded someone’s wrong with what was right: thank you for teaching me to forgive. I remember all the times you held the hand of family members as they passed on from this life: thank you for teaching me to be strong, even as your world fell apart. I remember the many times I’d search all over the house for you and find you bowed down on the floor in your spot by the bed, crying out to God for whatever the pressing need was at that moment: thank you for teaching me to seek Him. I remember the times after my TBI when I kept asking if you were my real mom, just trying to make sense of my madness: thank you for teaching me to hold it all together.
Mom, I’ve spent a lifetime watching you: thank you for teaching me what it means to live selflessly.
Thank you! Those words don’t do justice for how grateful I am to have you as my mom, but that’s the best Webster could do. You’ve selflessly given time, talent, and gifts for as long as I can remember. You’ve taught me to live genuinely generous, with no hidden agenda. You’ve shown me that it’s always a good day to do something good for someone. Because of you, I’ve learned that it’s the people behind-the-scenes that help those shine brightest on the stage of life.
You’ve been a warrior. (It must be the Cherokee in you.) You’ve waged wars against the Devil for your family and friends. I’ve seen you cry, but never for yourself. I’ve watched you give, but, often, never receive. I’ve heard you pray behind the locked door of your sewing room. You've been constant. You’ve always supported my dreams. You’ve always been a voice-of-reason. You’ve always known how long meat can last in the refrigerator before it goes bad. When Google doesn’t know, you do. You’re the best! Everything I am, you helped me be.
I love you, mom. Thanks for being you. ❤
Forever your daughter and always your friend,
To My Steel Magnolia,
There are so many things that I need to thank you for and it’s impossible to narrow them down to a few paragraphs! I’ll begin with thanking you for deciding to stay at home to raise me and the boys even though it meant sacrificing some materialistic things. Thank you for not crushing my adventurous spirit as a child, but teaching me to have courage and allowing me to explore. Your constant love and support have always been a part of the driving force behind me. Thank you for teaching me the joy in serving others and how to look for the best in everyone. I can still remember those Saturdays working with the homeless at the Savannah City Mission, where you and daddy showed us how to give selflessly.
Thank you for the lessons of self-discipline, perseverance and excellence that you taught me while pursuing your education. After 11 years or so of being a stay-at-home mom, we watched you soar through your Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, all while juggling mama/wife-life. (And maintaining a GPA of 3.8 - 4.0!) I’m still convinced that your name plate should read “Dr. SuperMom”.
Most importantly, thank you for teaching me the power of a consistent relationship with the Lord. For as long as I can remember, there was a Bible, a prayer journal and a half-empty coffee pot on the kitchen table when I woke up for breakfast. If I was up a little earlier than usual I could hear the soft murmur of prayer as well. I have no doubt that your consistent walk with God is the secret behind your smile. You’ve shown by example how I should fully lean on Him regardless of my situation. Thank you for teaching me these lessons and countless more by the way you have lived, not simply through words you have said. Your inner (and outer) beauty coupled with your humble, but immensely strong character is why you will always be a Steel Magnolia to me.
Love you always,
Just wanted you to know how thankful I am that God looked down through the ages of time, and chose you to let me be your firstborn little girl. I don’t have the words to express just how blessed I feel for that privilege. From the very beginning, you managed to walk that fine line that combines motherhood and friendship with Laura and me. The older I become, the more I understand just how narrow that line can be at times. I have a high bar to meet!
I don’t suppose I have the ability nor space to tell how important every little thing about you is. The consistent life you’ve lived in front of us...the constant giving to us and our families, monetarily and otherwise...your admission when you felt you didn’t have all the answers…the steady strength you’ve shown when we were all rocked with uncertainty about where life was going to take us...the tears you weren’t ashamed to cry when life hurt...the prayers for big answers you weren’t afraid to pray…your adventurous spirit that put all of your fears and most of ours to flight…your silly skits and antics that embarrassed me more times that I could count throughout my childhood…and those moments you weren’t afraid to tell me the truth about me and my actions - no matter how mad or offended I got about them temporarily. You have truly been stellar when it came to your assignment in caring for us and then later in caring for your parents. Your heart is a big one - full of gold!!
I also want to thank you for believing in me through all of the phases of uncertainty in my growing up years. I have not a shadow of a doubt that I’ve kept you sleepless more nights than you or I care to admit. You helped me believe that anything I wanted to do was within my grasp, but as my teacher, you also gave me the tools that I needed to reach for the stars. And I wasn’t afraid to climb...hence leading to the lack of sleep for yourself!! Lol. But in all of that believing in my dreams, you weren’t afraid to let me fail at a few things, either. Those were some of the greatest lessons I learned and will never forget. You also allowed other women to influence me as well without being intimidated by the strengths, skills, and experiences that they could instill in me. I think that is part of being a great teacher!! You were the best!!
This Mother’s Day, I hope you have the best one! Although there are a lot of great moms out there, in my humble opinion, you exceed them all!! I love you to the moon and back!!
Thanks again for it all,