I had a lot of food allergies, making it necessary for Mum to cook special foods for me, but she never acted like I was a bother, or like I caused her extra work. Instead she said I was her Princess, the Baby-Doll she had always wanted. Sometimes I got sick because of this or that food I was allergic to, and after I had emptied my stomach into the toilet, she would pull me up onto her lap and rock me. I still remember her lap covered with an apron, and the soothing warmth of her care.
She tucked me in every night, and prayed with me. I never once questioned her love because I always knew she loved me. Sometimes she would look me in the eye and say so seriously: You do know I love you, dont you? I was always surprised by that question. Id sooner question if the sun would be rising tomorrow than question her love for me! She told me years later that although she had been aware of her own mothers love for her, it hadnt been expressed verbally very often. Mum wanted me to know and hear of her love for me!
Thunderstorms were a big deal when we were small. Mum would take us from window to window watching the storm, exclaiming about the beauty of the lightening, and the wonder of wind and rain. I didnt find out until I was a teenager that Mum was afraid of thunderstorms. She watched the storms with us while ignoring her own fear, so we wouldnt grow up to be afraid of storms!
Mum quit school to marry our Dad when she was fifteen years old. In public school all my teachers exclaimed how young my mother was, but she didnt look young to me, she looked like Mum! When we were teenagers she announced she was going to get her GED. It had never occurred to me that Mum didnt have a high school diploma! I still remember how proud of her I was when she passed all the tests. Cool! My Mom got her GED! I didnt question if she would be able to pass, because she had always been smart to me! Sometimes she still says shes not smart, and that bothers me tremendously! Of course shes smart, shes my Mom! Besides, think of all the things she has taught me! She taught me how to cook, clean, sew and iron. Later she taught me how to do most of the bookkeeping for the service station that my Dad owned. Any mother could have taught me those things, but God hand picked HER to be my teacher, and more importantly, my example!
Mum always made God a priority at home. Dad worked long, hard, dedicated hours building a family business, but Mum was almost always home. Every day when we got off the school bus Mum would stop everything she was doing, and sit down at the table to visit with us. We would relate everything that happened in the course of our day. If a girl cried, or a boy got in a fight we told her all about it. She listened intently, providing milk and cookies to snack on, as we related our days activities. When we were done talking, she would get out the Bible, and we would read it together. Then we pulled out the kitchen chairs and knelt in front of them, taking turns praying out loud. When it was Mums turn to pray, she made sure to pray for the girl or boy we had mentioned. This made a HUGE impression on me! Mum was listening when we talked, and she cared about what we said!
Sometimes I would walk into the living room, and find Mum kneeling beside the couch praying quietly. I heard her bring my name before the throne of God. I was so important to Mum that she talked to God about me!
Theres never been any question about Mums faith in God. But never has it seemed more stalwart, more resolute than the last sixteen years of our life. In the midst of tragedy and heartbreak, Mums faith has strengthened more! Shes been a brick wall of support in times of great storm. My brother Stans wife, Lori, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. Despite aggressive treatments and thousands of prayers, God took Lori home in 2001, leaving behind a 10 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. It broke Mums heart to see her son suffer! Yet in the midst of heartache and sorrow, she never once questioned God. Instead she prayed like a warrior for her family.
Three years later there was a terrible hunting tragedy in our family. As a result, this same brother of mine who had lost his wife, also lost his best friend, Jimmy. This time shock mingled with our tears and sorrow. Mum said God had a plan and there was a reason. Jimmys burial plot was so close to Loris grave that we had to circle Loris grave in order to bury Jimmy. The pain was absolutely phenomenal! Later in her kitchen, Mum was as strong as a rock while she held me. I couldnt stop sobbing over the tragic loss of our 22 year old cousin. Mums presence and her hugs gave me immeasurable comfort that day!
Two years later Dad had a catastrophic heart attack. Things didnt go well, and suddenly Dad was in a coma, staying that way for five days. While Dads life hung between heaven and earth Mum cried, but she never questioned. We quietly waited to see what God would do. Again many people prayed, and Dad recovered.
Then nine years ago, another one of Mum and Dads three children lost a spouse. I was that child, and I lost my husband in a split second, without warning. Again, no questions were asked of God. By this time the example of Mums faith was planted deep in my heart. She has never questioned, and neither have I. But I will say I dont know how I would have made it this far without Mum. That first summer I called her every morning at 6:30. She knew I would be calling, and she always answered. We didnt plan it that way, it just happened. I cried, talked, reasoned, feared, and wondered aloud how I would ever run the house and emotionally support four children without my husband of 24 years. She listened, encouraged, advised, and loved me. Above all, I know she prayed! She told me all the time she was praying, and I believed her. To this day she signs her e-mails to me Love & Prayers, Mum.
Two years after my husband was killed my older brother Floyd was diagnosed with incurable cancer, and he was told he had less than five years to live. Together our family prayed and believed for his healing here on earth, and Floyd did very well for a long time. But last October God quietly swept Floyd up into His arms and took him home to Heaven.
Mum has watched each of her children go through unspeakable pain and loss in different ways, yet she has continued to trust in the Love of God! Her faith has been an amazing example not only to us, but to countless others who have quietly watched in the wings!
My Mums a very smart woman! She knows where the true source of strength and courage is, and she goes there daily! George Washington said: All I am, I owe to my mother. I join him in that sentiment!
So today my words celebrating my mother come from the depths of my being. My mother is my very best friend! When my children dont want me to tell a secret that theyve shared with me, I know theyre serious when they say: And dont even tell your Mother!
Happy Birthday Mum, Im so thankful for every moment Ive known you and your faith, and I look forward to many more!
If you would like to wish my mother a Happy Birthday, you can send her a greeting in the form below, and Ill pass it on to her.