This is my mom. She lives in a rural community in Wisconsin. I called her today to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She worked last night taking care of others who, for various reasons, are unable to take care of themselves. Her workplace looks like a house but it’s really a special care facility. She’ll work tonight, too. Her shift starts at 8 and ends tomorrow morning.
She’s a trained hairdresser, so she does the hair of the residents when it’s needed. Among other responsibilities, she helps them get in and out of bed, cleans the house, and makes sure they are comfortable. In many ways, she mothers them—even though some of them may be older than her. I loved hearing about one resident they had some time ago who tended to be cranky or unresponsive to just about everyone, except Mom. I think it’s because this woman saw in my mom someone who can be tough and loving at the same time. One thing I admire about my mom is the way she can say something firm to you without hurting your feelings.
A couple years ago, another resident at the house also took a particular liking to my mom. This woman had trouble speaking, but Mom understood her. One of the favorite things she liked to do was just hold my mom’s hand.
My mom is a woman of simple belief. She’ll tell you she thinks you need God without any hesitation, without apology, just matter-of-fact. She might throw in a verse from the Bible because she trusts it. My mom is one of those you might hear say, “The Bible says it; I believe it; that settles it.” I owe my belief today to my mom because when I was in middle school she took us to church three times a week: on Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night.
My mom isn’t perfect. She spent a number of years running from God. I think what I love most about her is her authenticity. What you see is what you get. She’s always happy to talk, she likes to cook, bake, garden and sew. She likes to get gifts and she loves to play games. She has a big laugh. Rarely have I heard her just faintly chuckle; she’s all in when she finds something funny.
When I called today she was over at her brother’s house. He’s married and they were expecting other family members to join them for dinner tonight. I called her cell phone and, when she answered it, she was outside picking rhubarb. She’s going to make rhubarb sauce and rhubarb pie with it later. When she told me that, I could almost taste it and my mouth began to water.
I wish I could sit down with her at dinner this week and just enjoy a piece of pie with her and play a game. I miss her and I love her.
I owe a lot to her. She shows me what perseverance looks like. She shows me how to find joy even when life throws you some hard turns. She demonstrates loyalty to family, to friends. Her beliefs are not prone to waver. She’s known to get her fingers dirty, to work hard with her hands. She gives strong hugs and she has cried a lot.
This is my mom and she’s part of me.
I thank God for you, Mom. Keep holding on to Jesus' hand.