Friday, May 8, 2009

Her children rise up, and call her blessed! Proverbs 31:28

This weekend is Mothers Day… and if you haven’t already done so, you need to get a gift or some form of acknowledgement for your mother as well as the other women who have had a profound impact on your life. I have been celebrating Mother’s Day for… hmm, 31 years now, granted some of that time was without knowing. It is only this year though that it makes sense to me. This year I became a mother and now I get it. I get why ‘Mamas’ are to be celebrated.

My mom does not see her value at all. She would tell you that she isn’t pretty, has too many wrinkles, fuzzy hair, a bummed up foot and thanks to some local jealousy, she would also tell you that she is perceived to not be nice. None of this is true of course (well, her foot does need some work), but this is how she perceives herself. Today, in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I want to tell you how I perceive her.

When I was in 1st or 2nd grade, I had a classmate that was very poor. I didn’t realize that she was poor at the time, but I knew she was different, everyone did… and everyone made fun of her; I made fun of her. Mama found out about this and I honestly can’t remember if I got a spanking or not, but I do remember being told that I had to apologize to her the next day. The very next day, I did just as I was told and I apologized to the girl. I will never, ever forget the look on her face as she thanked me for my apology and confirmed that my teasing had hurt her feelings. I am so thankful that I was made to apologize, through that, mama taught me to be kind to people and to say “I’m Sorry” when I am wrong.

The summer before I went into 8th grade I found myself with no friends. The friends I had previously proved to be bad influences and had to be turned loose. So, as the first day of school approached my fears increased, after all, you cannot start school with no one to eat lunch with. So, mama and I prayed every night that God would send me a friend… And he did. He actually renewed my friendship with Sandy who was my best friend from the time we were 3 years old. We are great friends to this very day because God joined us as such. I look back at those few months and see mama as the person who not only taught me to pray, but to know that God hears those prayers.

When I was in High School mama made me get a job if I wanted to go Europe (Sandy went too) because I would have to pay for it. This meant sacrificing a car for a year, but it was worth it. I flipped burgers at McDonalds after school everyday and then had to be there at 4:45 every Saturday morning. Mama would stand at the door as left for work on those mornings in her nightgown until she could no longer see my taillights (I was of course driving her car) and then she would call at 5:00 to make sure I got there safely. I don’t think she ever did go back to sleep. Europe is as vivid in my mind today as it was in person 13 years ago. Mama is the person who taught me that sacrifice and hard work make the reward so much sweeter and also that teaching your child this lesson sometimes means you have to sacrifice too.

Mama didn’t work on Mondays and if I close my eyes today I can still smell the crisp, spring air coming through the open windows of the freshly cleaned house when I got home from school. Monday’s were my favorite day! Ty & daddy were working and so mama and I would always go to Burger King and get chicken tenders with ranch dressing and a coke. Then we would go see Grandma at work and spend some time with her. What was a typical Monday then (which packed on nearly 15 pounds) are precious memories now. Every child should have sweet, innocent times with their parents and grandparents. Those days passed too quickly, but Mama taught me to keep a clean house, cherish simplicity and, most importantly, to love Grandma. And I do… all three.

I soon graduated from High School, then college and quickly (seems quick now) I found myself in Virginia as a naive career girl. I thought I was a smart career woman, but I soon found out otherwise. My nice, classy coworkers were neither nice nor classy… in fact they were down right mean. My boss wasn’t much better and I found myself crying at night more often than not. I called mama and recounted numerous stories just sure I would finally have someone on my side. Not so… she would always point out what I did wrong in the situation and encourage me to either apologize or correct my behavior. She saw the mistreatment, but she knew that neither of us could force the actions of others and that I was called to be a separate people. As I worked on me – my work ethic and attitude, the situation remained the same, but I was able to weather the storm. Today, I am a much better employee and confident in my skills. Mama has always taught me know when the ball isn’t in my court and to do my job as unto the Lord.

Mama taught me to be a lady. She taught me the basics like wearing a slip when you wear a dress and also to wear a dress. She taught me to sit up straight (George is still trying to drive this point home), not to wear white before Easter, send ‘Thank You’ notes and proper manners when addressing your elders and to love my mother in law.. She taught me far more than I could ever put into words.

I must mention, however that she is not the only woman who has had great influence on my life. I could go on and on about various ladies who have played a role in me becoming who I am today. For example, two of the greatest things that I have ever learned were taught to me by Aunt Sue. First, she taught me how to chew with my mouth shut. I remember sitting at the table eating and her telling me to close mouth. I never said a word, but I remember thinking ‘if I close my mouth I will suffocate!’… The second, and most important thing I learned from her, is that if anything ever, God Forbid, were to happen to mama, she would be there, filling in the void to the best of her ability and loving us unconditionally. Every child should have a mama, but what a blessing to also have an Aunt Sue!

So, while my mom may see nothing more than wrinkles and fuzzy hair when she looks in the mirror, I see the woman I hope to become. I pray Andrew gets all the blessings that I have gotten and more. Happy Mothers Day Mama and to all the women who have blessed me for so long.

1 comment:

Dan and Tammy said...

You are so sweet. I love the vivid memories you shared and I look forward to instilling those lessons into my children some day, even though they don't know it. You got me thinking about my own mother and the things she has taught me.
I am so glad to have my mom and Aunt Melanie as influences in my life!! Love you Lib! Happy Mother's Day to you!