Sunday, May 12, 2013
Mother's Day 2013
I was born in 1962.
At 87 and 50, respectively, we're still going strong. Especially my mom.
She lived through the tail end effects of the Great Depression and the death of her beloved father when she was only 14. He had cancer.
She lived through WWII which took her 20 year old husband away and returned to her a man who resembled the one who left but was of course changed on the inside. They worked that out.
She lived through more wars, deaths of beloved family members and four live births sans epidurals.
She raised three pretty good, low-maintenance boys and one AWESOME girl full of DRAMA and high anxiety who wore her out with shopping demands, cheerleading tryouts and boy problems. She has claimed she prayed more than one boy right out of my life. I believe it.
And her husband of 71 years is fighting a cancer that is ravaging his body but not their spirits. Mom and Dad still tell each other every night how much they love each other and remind each other how much God is helping them.
At 87, she is remembering all of Dad's meds (and hers) and lifting him, comforting him, praying for him, encouraging him, fluffing his pillows, dressing his wounds, supplying his favorite foods, sharing everything just like normal to the best of her ability ... and her ability? It is expansive and strong.
She also credits God for that.
So I'm doing my best to help her, but it's hard for her receive help, even from the daughter born late to her who "owes" her a great debt of love and wants to help. It's just a difficult thing for her.
Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon with my folks and my youngest brother. We thought we were in a crisis moment with my dad, but it resolved. And then he ate an ice cream sandwich. One un-shared ice cream sandwich has never brought any group of people such satisfaction and relief, I am sure.
But I watched her gather herself, call hospice again and again, relay details, comfort my dad, talk to us, offer us coffee, correct our misconceptions about what we thought was going on with Dad, etc. It was exhausting for me, and I am only 50.
They say as you age, you see your mom in your reflection in the mirror. I see the resemblance in photos, such as in the photo I posted below. That sideways glance with tilted chin? I do that. I've seen it in pictures of myself. She has always been beautiful, and even now, people cannot believe she's 87.
So I hope I age well and still look good at 87 and am physically strong. But you can guess what I'm going to say next: I also hope I've inherited some of that devotion to God and marriage and some of that strength to do beyond what I think I can, both physically and emotionally--to endure and carry the legacy forward.
Mom has never achieved great things for society, except that "small" job of raising 4 good kids. She holds no advanced degrees but has taught little Sunday School children that God loves them; that's a pretty big message. She has not traveled much but made our home a relaxing retreat from the world. She never lived in a mansion but treated her home as such with her appreciation and pride. She never made millions but regularly shared what she had with those less fortunate. She did not fill our schedules with organized activities and field trips when we were little, but she was always "there" for us, physically and emotionally. She was never a socialite, but she captured one man's heart for his entire life.
That is my legacy, my mother. Mom, I love you. Happy Mother's Day 2013.