To all you mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day. I hope you feel honored today and every day. I wish so much that I could spend today with my own mom, but the miles between us are long. So instead, I sit here 1,093 miles away thinking of her and how grateful I am to still have her in my life. I imagine it’s difficult to spend Mother’s Day apart from your children and would give just about anything to let her know how much we all truly love her. Words aren’t enough…but I’ll certainly try my best.
My mom, like most moms, is a very special person. She has her special little quirks and sayings, things that just make her special. Like the way she says certain words and phrases or all the times she puts two different shoes on her feet and walks out the door. We get such a kick out of her and love to tease her endlessly. But teasing and laughing aside, we cherish her for who she is. She is the first to wake up and she goes and goes until she just can’t go anymore and we have to wake her up out of her chair and nudge her to bed. My mom is such a hard worker and she is always doing for others. I call it her love language. She spends her free time sending cards, buying little gifts, and writing encouraging notes. I’ll even go a step further and say she has found a little ministry doing just that. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been approached by someone who said, “Your mom sent me the sweetest note the other day…” She just has this way of bringing joy and encouragement to others and quite honestly, she probably doesn’t even realize it.
You see, my mother was never one to dwell in the spotlight. In fact, she all but ran from anything that would make her the center of attention. Although she will happily attend your event or party, you won’t find her in the middle of the room laughing with a group of other ladies. No, you’ll have to search much harder. But this, my friends, is where I tell you what makes her so special. If you want to find my mother, I invite you to search the back of the room or off to the side. Look for that one lonely person who came but doesn’t know who to talk to. Look for the person nibbling away at a cookie in the corner…the person who came, but feels really out of place. ….and that’s where you’ll find my mom. No, she’s not that person. She’s the one right next to them. My mom spotted that lonely soul from the moment they walked inside. Her inner alarm went off like a siren and she knew right away they needed someone to talk to. She spent about 2 minutes calculating her way over to that person before she finally grabbed a seat next to them and started pulling them into a conversation consisting mostly of small talk and smiles. It’s what she does. And she’s good at it.
Afterwards, when you ask her if she enjoyed herself, she’ll say she didn’t know who to talk to so she just sat and talked to “so-and-so” for awhile. And you might feel bad because you really want her to get out and talk to people and enjoy herself. But this is my mom. And I know, she’s most happy and comfortable when she’s focused on making others happy and comfortable.
I’m so thankful for her constant example in servitude. She has been a major influence in my life and I’m thankful for that. From an early age, I found myself naturally seeking out the persons hiding in the shadows. I looked for the kids who were unsure of themselves, partly because I was little unsure of my own self, but mostly because it was something I had seen my mother do often enough that it became a part of me.
In 7th grade, we had a week in gym class where we had to learn square dancing. (Who learns square dancing in gym class? Seriously.) Anyway, I knew the teacher was going to put everyone into pairs the next day and that it would be an embarrassing display of social standing dodgeball. Like getting picked for baseball…only a whole lot worse. So I went up to my teacher after class and asked right out to be paired up with “J”. Now, I don’t know what J’s home situation was like, but I do know he wore super thick glasses, never combed his hair and his clothing consisted of sweatpants and ratty t-shirts. I also knew that the instant the gym teacher paired him with someone, his partner would express her horror and the other kids would make all sorts of comments. It would be a bloodbath. I’ll never forget the gym teacher’s face when he asked if I was sure that’s what I wanted. I remember nodding my head and saying, ‘Yes, sir.’ He didn’t say anything, just nodded and wrote it down on his clipboard. But I knew by the look on his face…he understood. I didn’t do it because I was a goody two-shoes or teacher’s pet. I did it because it was the right thing to do. I did it because it’s what my mom would have done.
I can’t help but remember the time I convinced my mom to take us and a few other “uncool” kids to a movie at the mall. It was my friend’s birthday. He had Asperger’s and was often very quiet and uncomfortable in large groups. In class you could usually find him sitting by himself sketching something he saw in a book. He was full of natural talent, able to memorize facts, numbers and books at the drop of a hat. But Asperger’s had caused him to draw into himself more often than not. I’ll never forget how hard he laughed through “The Emperor’s New Groove.” Hearing him laugh and watching him enjoy himself over a pretzel at Auntie Anne’s afterwards…it may as well have been MY birthday for the awesome gift that it was.
That’s what being my mother’s daughter has done to me. Though I’ll never be part of the “cool kids” group and I’ll probably always feel a little unsure of myself and where I fit in, I’ll always be able to feel happy and comfortable making others feel happy and comfortable. And that, my friends, is SO much better than wearing Abercrombie and fitting in.
So here’s to being my mother’s daughter after all …and proud of it.
Love you, Mom.
Proverbs 31:27-28 “She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”