I have a good mother
February 1, 2011
There isn't very much that I know about her childhood. She has only shared bits and pieces over the years. She grew up in a poor fishing town. She didn't have electricity until she was fifteen. She came from a large family and can easily recall her mother having several cribs in the kitchen and there were always babies in them. Being one of the eldest, she cared for her younger siblings often and can remember her mother attending mass several times a day. She killed the family dinner. Washed her hair in dish soap and rain water.
I have never seen a picture of my mother as a child. He younger brother was playing with matches in an upstairs bedroom and set the house on fire, the family losing everything and the children being displaced among the neighbours until they had a house again. I don't ever recall hearing stories about childhood friends. What little I do know sounds like it came out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel. She has encountered more than her fair share of hurt, loss and pain. But I have a very good mother.
My mother is a mother of sacrifice. A mother of determination and sheer strong will. She learned early in her life what it meant to have a strong work ethic and a willingness to do whatever it takes. Or you didn't have food on the table. You don't carry debt. It's not wise to be indebted to anyone, let alone any THING. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand. Put on your poker face and make life work anyway. She is a woman of two choices. Wallow in your self pity, or get over it already.
What is most interesting about my mother is the way she mothered. These were life lessons that she learned, and she certainly shared them with her own children, but my mother was never one to hold our hand through life. She knew we were going to make mistakes and she let us fall head first into our own pits. She'd warn us when were were digging them, but would sit back and helplessly watch us fall in. And if we were humble enough to ask for her help, she would be there with both hands.
I believe every mother has dreams for her children. Every Godly mother wants to see Christ glorified in the actions of her children. But MY mother shared something with me a long time ago that I am starting to understand. No matter the failures, no matter the success, our children become people themselves and my mom doesn't allow her children to define her. See, my siblings and I are all different. We have four very different lives and relationships with the God of our Childhood. The fear of the Lord was taught to us as little bitty children, but the relationship with the Saviour was ours to own forever.
I remember her words to me after she witnessed my baptism as a young adult, coming back to Jesus with arms wide open and an insatiable fire for the God I had abandoned. She sat in the front row and listened as I confessed the heartbreak of bad decisions and ignorant youth. Her poker face may of told you one thing, but I know the truth. It probably took everything in her to remain calm, cool and collected. She told me:
“I always knew that you, YOU would come back to the Lord.”
I believe that she had dreams for me. Dreams for the prodigal daughter to return home. Gifts and talents that she wanted to be proud to see me use... to glorify God.
Well mom, I hope I make you proud now.
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What a lovely tribute to an incredibly strong woman! Thank you for sharing, Melissa.