Earlier this week as I thought about today being my mom’s first Mothers’ Day without her mom – my grandmother. I wanted to know how my mom was feeling, what she misses, the memories she holds close and some of the shaping influences of her mom.
For that matter, I wanted to hear from my Dad, too. His mother passed more than thirty years ago. But no matter how much time goes by, the indelible mark of our mothers (and fathers) remain.
My paternal grandmother liked to play games with my dad and his siblings and she took them on camping trips despite not particularly loving to do that herself. She desired for my dad to have good friends, to get a good education, to go to church, to play the piano, to eat what was on his plate and to do his chores. She worried about him when he took the car out.
My maternal grandmother enjoyed cooking – especially making special treats tailored to the exact preference of each person she was serving. She taught my mom to tell the truth, to be dependable and to use good manners. In her quiet yet strong demeanor, she led by example by always making the best of difficult situations, not complaining, putting others first and loving Jesus.
In reflecting on the lists my parents wrote about their mothers, what stuck out to me was their recollection of simple, daily life, kind of things. But it was through those on-going, ordinary ways of daily nurturing that made them extraordinary moms. The same being true of my mom in the ways she still continues to love and care for us.
For those of us though in the throws of raising children we are often exhausted (if not physically, emotionally), maybe we feel discontent or become distracted by comparing ourselves to those around us thinking we need to do or be more. Perhaps we think something other than parenting will be more stimulating, so we give our most focused attention to other work or projects. Maybe we think in order to be the best mom we must give our kids every opportunity or thing they desire. In other words, a keeping up with the Joneses’ mindset. Maybe we feel like we are failing as moms if we can’t pull of the perfect Pinterest projects that others are always photographing. Or perhaps we base our parenting decisions on trying to be our child’s best friend and not the parent they need. Whatever it is we easily become fixated on the wrong things and undervalue the ordinary, unspectacular moments.
But it is in our presence, sacrifice, nurture, instruction, discipline and unconditional love, not tied to our kids’ performance or our expectations, that is the true gift of being a mom.
This made me wonder, “What is it my kids might one day recall to their children or grandchildren about me?”
I hope it won’t be – “she was on her laptop all the time!” What I want them to know is my undevoted love for each of them and for their dad. And for them to recall a mom who showed them grace and pointed them to Jesus. I don’t do it perfectly by any means, but I hope over the long haul in the things I say and do and in how I invest my time they will see extraordinary significance in the ordinary daily ways of a mom.