My mom had a rough go of it growing up. I won’t share details, because they are my mom’s to share, but trust me.
Despite the circumstances of her childhood, my mom chose to have four daughters, all of us about two years apart. When she found herself a single mom with four children under the age of 7, she didn’t give up or go nuts or give us away. She just kept going.
And she didn’t sit on her laurels, remaining content with never achieving any of her goals or not being able to provide for her family. She went back to college, earned her degree, and relocated our family to Arkansas after marrying my stepdad.
I’ve been writing a series of blog posts about my mom whenever the mood strikes me for a few years now. You can find them on my personal blog. The title of the series is “Mama Said.” Anyone who knows my mom knows that she has a number of infamous sayings and phrases she repeats–life slogans, if you will–regarding how to clean, how to talk, how to relate to others. How to live.
But it’s not what “Mama says” that causes me to admire her.
It’s what she does.
She perseveres through hardship. She continually grows as a child of God. She worships freely. She takes good care of her body, mind, and spirit. She forgives those who certainly do not deserve forgiveness. She goes out of her way to give to those in need. She excels in her career. She communes with nature and finds beauty in the small things.
I’ve noticed that in the past few years, childhood friends of mine have made comments about my mom that have surprised me.
“I still make the bunny prints out of construction paper because of your mom.”
“I started a chore chart because of your mom.”
“Your mom remembered that I would not have my own mom to tell me ‘happy Mother’s Day’ and sent a card this year.”
The young mothers who have made these comments remind me of my mom. They didn’t all have the greatest maternal role models in their homes, but they found inspiration in the way my mom cared for our family. And now, as a result, their children are receiving love, constant care, and creative discipline :).
And so is mine.
Not because of what she said to me growing up, but because of what she did, I have a huge repertoire of tricks, tools, and tips to fall back on as a mom. I don’t have doubts about how to assure my daughter that she’s beautiful, special, divinely created, and infinitely blessed. I don’t worry about my ability to make choices that will benefit her, put her well-being first, and help her grow. I have less anxiety about how to handle the ups and downs and growing pains of parenting.
I may have to Google images of rashes. I might read books on how to be a great parent and glean insights. I often talk to other young mothers facing similar issues when I need a second opinion.
But I know one thing for sure.
I know how to love.
Thank you, Mom.