My mother was a pretty special person. She still is to me, but now her presence resides in my memories, and occasionally those memories lead to either laughter or tears. I felt like I lost part of myself when she passed away almost four years ago. There is still a huge gap that can never be filled, but I keep pressing onward, hopeful to pass on to my children some of the same lessons she taught me.
I’ll share with you some of the important lessons I learned, and why I love my mom so much.
1. She was cheerful. Even though she had to endure major trials through most of her life, she was the happiest person I’ve ever met. In my young childhood years I remember her enduring seizures, and learning how to take care of her when they happened. As soon as she was recovered enough to talk, laughter quickly filled the room again.
When I was 11 she was diagnosed with Lupus, and I won’t pretend that her joyfulness was severely tested. That first year she was in bed more often then not, and struggled with depression as she learned to trust the Lord through this great trial. However, I saw her work through those dark days and come out a stronger person, filled with laughter and true joy. She found contentment and joy in the smallest things, a lesson that many of us could stand to learn.
(At this point my mom’s Lupus had went into her brain, a very, very rare thing to have happen. It was just a few months before she died, but my sister and I went away with her to a bed and breakfast for a special girl’s night of memories, laughs, and a few tears. Even then..she smiled.)
2. She exhibited Faith. I learned to trust in my Savior because of her faith. I learned to pray because I saw her pray. I learned to memorize scriptures using the handmade scripture cards she made for me. I learned to sing praises to God with my voice in unison with hers. She was my example, and though it was not always a perfect faith, I learned even from the imperfections.
3. She was a devoted Mother. Her children meant everything to her. She poured her life into raising my older sister, brother and I. Many were the nights she gave up sleep so she could stay up and talk with us about issues on our hearts. She cried bitter tears when my brother walked his own path, and never stopped praying for him up until her death. She was extremely devoted to our education, even teaching us through many, many sick days of great fatigue, aching muscles, headaches, and nausea from the Lupus. I know I still fall far short of being the kind of mother she was to me.
4. She taught through example, and not just instruction. Whenever possible she tried to give illustrations and real life lessons behind her teachings. When I was in high school she finally explained to me why she was so strict about high necklines, long hemlines, and modest attire. Her life experience and the things she went through earlier in her life made it clear to me why she was raising her daughters the way she did. When I was tempted to grumble about how strict she was (we had a collarbone neckline rule) I thought back to her stories and tried to keep my mouth shut. She wasn’t afraid to share with us when it was appropriate what she had done wrong, and it made a big impact on my life. I could relate so much better to how I was raised when she was forthright and honest, and had reasons behind her rules.
5. She was a wonderful Grandmother. My parents were first generation homeschoolers back in the early 1980’s, when it was still extremely hush hush. They had no support groups; they simply started homeschooling one day. She endured a lot of criticism from relatives and put up with a lot of issues from family. When I started having children she made it clear that she would not get in our family business but try to just support us. She had walked the road of meddlesome family members, and didn’t want to be that kind of a grandparent. I was so thankful for her being sensitive to this, as she never went behind my back, but respected and upheld my authority as the mother to my children. She simply helped when she could. I hear so many stories online of homeschooling families who struggle with extended family, it’s actually rare to hear of good strong families anymore. Whenever I read one of these stories online I’m once again reminded of how blessed I was to have respectful parents (my dad was/is the same way). It’s a blessing to have supportive grandparents who stay in their roles.
Truly, I have cause to rise up and call my mother a blessing. In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share some of my memories with you, in the hopes of encouraging you in your mothering journey.
*This post is sponsored by Sears. If you are looking for last minute Mother’s Day gifts, don’t overlook Sears when making your list of stores to shop at!*