When They’re Gone

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

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother’s Day this year. I am amazed how difficult this day is for me. Oh, I am very happy when my own adult children and my husband remember the day and share their love and appreciation towards me. But, after almost 8 years since my mom died; its still really sad for me. I wish she were here.

I wonder when and if it will ever be just another day for me. Will there be a time when I don’t find all of the advertisements bothersome? This year, I thought I was handling everything so well. I could walk past the Mother’s Day cards without feeling sad. I even searched through the cards looking for one for our daughter, who is expecting her first child. I was looking for a card for “moms to be”. And yes that is a thing, in case you are looking for a similar card and sentiment. To me, a mom becomes a mom, the moment she is pregnant. She nourishes and grows a child within her womb, who is completely dependent on her. This definitely qualifies as mom to me, not just when the child takes her first breath of air. Just ask my daughter and she will confirm this very much alive child who is already keeping my daughter awake with her gymnastics in the middle of the night, is her baby and she is her mother.

So, as I was looking for the right card to give my daughter this year, in the dollar tree store of all places, I was suddenly overcome with memories of my own mom. The words I could hear her speak, and the image of her face, began to flood my mind. I found the perfect card, though, but I was doing everything I could not to completely break down in a full blown ugly cry right there in the store.

My husband was with me, but had gotten off to some other part of the store, so I quickly walked away from the rack of Mother’s Day cards, to escape to another aisle. And also went on a mission to find my husband so we could check out and leave before the tears fell. In a moment of relief, my daughter texted me and told me a present had arrived from us and how much she and her husband loved it. It was perfect timing and brought me a moment of joy, but also quickly turned to sadness as I thought about my mom, not being able to be a part of her first great grandchild’s life. That made me sadder , and also a bit angry, feeling like both my mom and me had been robbed of this opportunity.

I know my mom is healed and happy, but it doesn’t mean that I still don’t wish she were here. She would love all the excitement around the new baby. She would probably make her a knitted blanket or sweater, or maybe even a quilt. She was amazing at handmade gifts. I still have many of the things she made for my own children when they were born. She would love the baby shower planning as well- she was amazing as a host and cook. She would make meals for anyone who stopped by her house at lunch or dinner without any stress or checking her schedule first. She simply served them and made it look so easy.

But, I have to admit, I did not always appreciate my mom and recognize the neat and generous ways she served others, including me. I thought the homemade clothes were simply just a way for her to save money, and I felt self- conscious at school around my classmates with store bought designer clothes. When I was married, she would send me past issues of magazines, old store coupons and school papers from my childhood. I thought she was just cleaning out her house and giving me what she didn’t want any longer. And at other times, we just didn’t agree on issues. I thought she was too old fashioned.

Sadly, it took me many years and her passing to realize just what a blessing I had. The old school papers she saved and sent, would have been lost and my kids would not have gotten to see my first grade class picture. The magazines were great for when my kids needed to cut up pictures for school projects. I used the coupons at the store. The homemade clothes gave me design and style sense, that taught me how to be creative, look for bargains instead of paying full price, and not conforming to cultural expectations- In other words, to think for myself. Her throwing meals together from simple ingredients, helped to learn hospitality.

And her difference of opinions, taught me how to listen to others, and to come up with counter arguments. However, the biggest part of my life that I appreciate the most is to provide an opportunity to hear the Gospel. It was her prompting to go to church, watching television church serves, and the gift of my first Bible that led me to my relationship with Christ. For this, I will always be thankful and praising God.

I just wish I had opened my eyes to appreciate her while I could have told her. I talked her while she was she was in her coma, but it just wasn’t the same. I hope she heard me.

But, if there is anything I would like to share with you as Mother’s Day is approaching- please, tell your mom you love her. Look for ways to show her. Look at the ways she has helped you become the person you are today. She may have made you angry, she might have made crazy requests, she might have been annoying at times, she might have not liked your choice of friends or politics, she might not talk with you, she might have disowned you or abandoned you, she might have hurt you. But, she is your mom and she gave you life.

If your mom is still alive, you have the opportunity to enjoy her now. But, I will have to wait until my mom and I are reunited in Heaven, but I can guarantee it will be amazing! It will be like the most amazing Mother’s Day ever. And will be able to thank her for my life and called her blessed. – God Bless You – Nancy

Reality Check

Mother’s Day is difficult for me. I enjoy all the well wishes and the gifts from my Husband and kids, but its  still difficult. It’s difficult because I lost my mom four years ago, and well, there’s just nobody to say Happy Mother’s Day to.  If you’re like me, and your mom has died, then you probably know what I mean. It’s easy to say it to strangers and friends, but when your Mom is gone, it’s not the same. There’s this missing part of you that can’t be replaced.

If your much younger and your Mom is still alive, then you probably won’t get it. I didn’t get it either. She was just Mom. The parent that knew what you were doing, when you wished she didn’t. The one who seemed to read your mind. But, also the one who called at the right moment when you needed it most. The one who hounded you to date and had the perfect person for you- make that her perfect person for you. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until its gone. I really understand that saying now.

The most enlightening and frustrating thing that I have learned is this; I now have a better appreciation for the difficulties she went through as a mom. While I was out conquering the world with my can do, don’t care attitude, she was missing me. While I tried to change the subject when she complained to me, she was trying to reach out to me and have me understand and needed a shoulder to cry on. When she said “Stop by when you can” she meant “Please visit me, I like spending time with you and I need your company, and I miss you”   Now that my adult kids are out of the house, I get it. I really get it. Why hadn’t I understood it before?

We all get busy with our own lives and think we will have time for everything- later. They’ll be time to visit our family later. Or, maybe we think we know better than our moms when we are younger. Yep, that was me on both counts. Now,  I see and understand her so much better. But, I can’t tell her that, at least for now, until I see her again. But, I can help you to get it, before I did.

Here’s a list for you to consider: Your mom probably has some good advice for you, she’s been through more than you think she has, she was once young too and faced the same or similar situations, she really didn’t know what she was doing and learned as she went, her parents disapproved of her choices too and didn’t understand her, she was once the young one with the can do attitude who wanted to conquer the world, her mom probably had the perfect person for her too, but then along came your dad, she likes you as a friend too, and she would do anything for you and wants you to ask her.

I can only hope that you will take time for you mom and listen to her. Time and experience has made her wiser. She’s fallen on her face a few times and picked herself up. She knelt by your bed and prayed with you and for you. And she probably stills prays for you. She wants the best for you and hopes you won’t make the same mistakes she did. She wants to protect you from the hurts and the cruelties of the world. She is worth listening to. And the reality of it is this; as she gets older she will need you more than you think you need her. Reality is, you both need each other for your whole life. -God Bless -Nancy