It’s easy for me to get bogged down in feelings of inferiority on Mother’s Day. When the ideals of marriage and motherhood are held up as the standard of womanhood, it’s easy to feel a lesser woman on that day, being single and childless. It’s an awkward day for a single gal. I mean, what do you say when someone says, “Happy Mother’s Day!” to you. Ummm, thanks, I guess. Somehow I don’t think having a fur baby really counts as being a mother.
But one thing I’m working hard to do here On the Other Side is to find a healthy perspective in every situation, awkward or otherwise. So instead of wallowing in inferiority on another Mother’s Day, I choose to celebrate the woman my Mom was and to embrace the challenge to be the woman she raised me to be.
My mom died on May 2, 2009, just a few days before Mother’s Day. That makes the day a bit hard for me as well. Death. It’s the stinky part of life, right? But to see Mom suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia was infinitely harder than letting her go, knowing death for her was ultimate healing. I know one day I’ll see her again.
I don’t know how I could ever begin to list all the things my mom taught me, but there are a few things she did so well that I am still working to perfect in my own life.
- Make the simple special. My mom was a master at making something so simple feel really special. After a long day of running errands, Mom would pick up a loaf of raisin bread, a package of bologna, and a box of Bugles. Then we’d head to the park for a short picnic or sometimes have a “car picnic”. It was such a simple lunch (believe me, it tasted much better than it sounds!), but it was such a treat. Same with peanut M&M’s. Mom would buy a bag on sale, stash it away, and on a random evening, she’d pull out the bag of chocolate and dole out 10 M&M’s to each of us. I could make that chocolate last for hours! I hope that things I enjoy never become commonplace.
- Find pleasure in the little things. Mom got such enjoyment from things I take for granted. We could be driving along, and she would make such a fuss over the beautiful flowers along the road–flowers that I didn’t even see. She’d watch birds and squirrels playing and laugh at their antics. Or the next door neighbor’s little dog. She got a kick out of watching that little dog run and play in the grass. I hope I can take a lesson from Mom and see the small, beautiful details in my everyday life.
- Take pleasure in giving. My mom loved giving to other people. Even when Parkinson’s and dementia robbed her of her ability to read, write, and make crafts, she would get so excited when I would help her make a card to send to someone. I hope I can always be excited to give to others.
- Treasure scripture. Some of my earliest memories of Mom are of seeing her sitting on the edge of the bed, open Bible beside her. Mom’s Bible was tattered and underlined in all different colors, sure signs that she spent much time with it. After Mom got sick, I would read scripture to her. She especially loved the book of Isaiah. She would sit beside me on the couch, and I would read chapter after chapter from Isaiah. Once I thought she had fallen asleep. She was sitting so quietly with her eyes closed. I stopped reading, and Mom’s eyes opened. She wasn’t sleeping at all; she was just reveling in the word of God. If I could just learn to treasure God’s word as much as she did…