Mom having a picnic with the Bean

My Mom is my hero.  She hasn’t always been, but that is what makes our current relationship so sweet.  We’ve been through it, and come out the other side with a wonderful friendship.  So, let me tell you a few things about my Mom.

She is so incredibly caring about other people.  She really connects with young and old alike because she truly listens to what they have to say.  I don’t think she realizes how much her ability to listen touches people’s lives.  When my husband’s grandmother (Nannie) was dying from pancreatic cancer, my Mom came to the hospital to sit with her and read to her from the Bible.  She listed to Nannie’s stories, the ones we’d heard so many times over the years we could recite them, and asked questions that had never even dawned on me.  She was truly a comfort to a dying woman, and also to us as we grieved.

My mom works at a university bookstore and talks to most of the students at one point or another throughout the year.  That’s a lot of kids to meet.  But somehow, she manages to connect with some of them, even just over the cash register, and gets invited to weddings and graduations.  She goes to support the students when they are in the school play, or when their art is being featured in an art show.  And when we’ve been out running errands or having lunch in the town she works in, we invariably run into a student who says to me, “Oh, you must be Beth!”.  She really connects! 

Organizing family gatherings is another one of her strengths.  It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, she will be happy to host or at least help out.  My parents have a large back yard that is the setting for parties all summer long.  I think she loves doing it.  She certainly gets into the planning, and my sisters and I try to be there as much as we can to help with the execution of those plans.  The important part, though, for my mother is that the family gets together.  And by family, I don’t mean just the blood relatives.  There are many friends who have become family, and I think that’s in large part to my mother’s huge heart. 

Her grandchildren are, of course, the apple of her eye.  Whenever she comes to visit, my Mom will take the Bean in the morning (and it’s very early) at least once so I can sleep in.  She’s cared for her overnight (and for a few days in a row) several times even though we’ve lived far apart since the Bean was born.  She makes a real effort to chat with us on Skype when the Bean is still awake, and will sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star until she’s blue in the face if it will make the Bean happy. 

One of the main reasons that my Mom is my hero, though, is that she’s been through some pretty difficult stuff in her life, and she’s come out of it all with an attitude of grace and humility.  She is always trying to improve herself, as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a woman.  She tackles challenges head on, even if (or maybe especially because) they are scary.   She is a great role model. 

She rides on the back of my Dad’s motorcycle – so cool!  She makes THE BEST cinnamon rolls in the world.  When we were little, she worked very hard to make us each a special birthday cake every year.  Favourites of mine include a bookworm, Raggedy Ann, and an elephant.   She always makes sure to have her “face” on before going out, and she looks fabulous, but I don’t think she realizes that she’s beautiful without her makeup too.

My Mom taught me to sew, although my sewing machine usually only comes out for Halloween these days.  She taught me that you always feel better when the housework is done, although my house still gets out of control on a fairly regular basis.  She taught me that it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed at an event, although I still hate to wear nylons.  She taught me to be kind to people, to watch my tone of voice, to be a good friend, and to love unconditionally.  I hope to create those kinds of fond memories for my daughter.

Mom, thank you for a lifetime of care and love.  After becoming a mother myself, it became so much clearer to me how incredibly important you are in my life.  I expect you to bawl when you read this, because I’m having trouble seeing the screen myself.  So let me end by saying…