Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I've spent the entire day cleaning our house. Cleaning is a rather mindless activity, so my brain was free to think about lots of things. I made mental to-do lists, I stressed a little about our rapidly approaching vacation, and I thought about what I wanted to say in this post... After lots and lots of relatively uninterrupted thought I came to this simple conclusion:

Mothers must be the most under-appreciated group of people ever.
You can double the "under-appreciated" part if you are a really good mother
because your kids don't know how good they've got it.

I bet that wasn't where you thought I was going, was it? 

But I'm serious... Our mothers "mother" us every. single. day. Yet, we dedicate one itty-bitty-teeny-weeny day to showing them our appreciation. On top of that, it's a holiday much like Valentine's Day - everybody buys flowers, a card and and checks it off their list... If it's convenient, they might even buy lunch. Kind of depressing, huh?

Maybe I'm just feeling guilty because this year I won't be going home for Mother's Day. My dad won't pick me a vibrant red rose to pin on my dress, a southern tradition to signify that my mom is still alive.  I won't sit next to mom at church on Sunday. I won't help her set the table before a fabulous feast is served. I won't deliver a perfectly wrapped present and an extra card to cover for Zac, so it's likely she won't have any presents to open. I won't lay on the couch with my head in her lap while we talk about anything and everything. We won't walk around the yard discussing what flowers she will send me home with to add to my beds. 

"Guilty" isn't the correct word to describe my feeling, the true description would look much more like disappointed, or sad. I would feel guilty if I thought mom would be sitting around by herself all day, but she won't - she'll be up early to make flower arrangements for church, she'll teach ten or fifteen kiddos during children's church so that their mothers can enjoy the service, she'll hustle home to put the finishing touches on the amazing meal she will serve at lunch for my grandmothers, then, the odds are good that she'll clean it all up. 

Don't get me wrong - she'll be happy! My brother will be home, plus, she loves fixing the flowers and those crazy little kids will make her laugh multiple times in the hour she spends with them. She will happily provide a tasty lunch but I'd be lying if I said she enjoyed doing dishes. I mean, let's get serious, nobody likes the cleaning up part. 

Where am I going with this, you ask? Well, the point is this: 

MY mother may be the single most selfless woman I know and I don't ever, ever, ever want her to think 
that a day goes by when I don't hugely appreciate her.

My mom is a giver, in every aspect of the word. Her generosity is not limited to any one particular area - she gives her time, her possessions, her attention, her talents... the list goes on and on and on, she holds nothing back to keep for herself.

My mom always puts others first. Whether the "others" is me or Zac or my dad or a complete stranger, Mom never hesitates. Even if it means slaving away in the kitchen in order to present a gigantic lunch on Mother's Day.

My mom taught me that people will always appreciate my time the most. My friends joke that I'm the Queen of handwritten notes, but they are wrong. My mother is the Queen, I'm merely the apprentice. For as long as I can remember she's pushed me to send a handwritten card regardless of the occasion - thank you, congratulations, get well, miss you, or just because. She always says, "You would not believe how much a little note means to some people. It costs you virtually nothing - the cost of a stamp and a small card, but the fact that you give your time and effort make a little card priceless."

My mom sacrificed for my wedding. She sacrificed her time, her energy, her talents. Mom started a savings account when I went to college and every two weeks for YEARS she would put in a little money. She did this so that whenever it was time to plan our wedding, I would be able to have the wedding of my dreams. Even on the day itself she worked frantically behind the scenes and missed a huge portion of the reception to make sure everything was perfect. 

My mom led by example. I've grown up watching my mom take care of people. It's the thing I am most proud of her for. So many of us, myself included, walk around in our own little world caught up in the hectic chaos that is life, but not my mom. My mother has the gift of seeing people's needs. She is able to do this because she is always listening to others' stories, always watching for opportunities to give, always paying attention to everyone in the room, especially the people that might not be the center of attention. Now, DO NOT GET ME WRONG. My mother does not do anything out of sympathy, she does not befriend someone because she feels sorry for them... Her actions are done simply out of love. 

My mom speaks words of wisdom. I can't count the number of times my mom has given me the perfect advice - regardless of the topic. 

My mom passes out her time without thinking twice. If you've gotten married or had a baby in the past twenty years, chances are my mom helped plan your shower. If you've had a family member pass away, I would bet money my mom sent some delicious dish to your home. And those examples are the easy ones. When my brother's best friend's dad was diagnosed with cancer, my mom cooked for their family of five at least once a week for months. When the Math Facts volunteers at the elementary school quit, my mom signed herself up (as well as my grandmother and their dear friend, Phyllis) to help keep the Math program in place, as she knew Math was a subject our school system typically did not score so high on. That was almost twenty years ago, and even now, on Tuesday morning you'll find my Mom in the teacher's lounge grading away.

My mom gives when nobody is watching. I can't tell you the number of times, I've caught my mother secretly doing something kind or generous. We share on-line banking, it's not that hard for me to bust her. Most of the time she doesn't know that I know, but on the rare occasion that she has had to tell me for some reason or another, I've been forced into sworn secrecy. My mom gives for the right reasons.

My mom makes my dad look good, and lets him have every bit of the credit. My dad delivers a big apple pie to my Great-Uncle Bobby every year on his birthday. Dad grins from ear to ear and Uncle Bobby is so happy... Next time you see my dad, ask him what month Uncle Bobby's birthday takes place on. He doesn't have a clue! Mom is like his personal walking, talking reminder of all things important - birthdays, events, somebody is sick, the list goes on and on. And after dad swoops in and says or does the perfect thing, mom just sits back and let's him get the pat on the back. (NOTE: He knows this and always gives her credit as best he can. Dad will be the first to tell you that Mom makes him better.)

My mom spoils us. It's not just me, she spoils Zac and Brandon too! Every single time we come home we find a present on our bed. A new dress or something with a crown... Honestly, as much as I LOVE presents, the part I most enjoy is that even though I don't see her every day or even every few weeks or months,  I know she is always keeping an eye out for something I would like. She is pretty much my personal stylist... As for Zac, he gets desserts - for his birthday last year she took him strawberry cake, pumpkin roll, cherry cheesecake and apple pie. She said she knew he liked them all and didn't know which one he'd prefer, so she wouldn't risk getting it wrong on his birthday.  

My mom has always been "Mom" to all of our friends. My brother's friends call her Mama. My friends call her Momma Shawna. Anybody that's ever tasted her cookies, attempts to claim her as their own. Before every basketball game (mine or Zac's) mom cooked a huge meal for everyone. On away games, we loaded the bus with giant tupperware full of cookies. When she packed my lunch there was always two or three of everything, because she wanted to make sure that I had enough to share. But her mothering isn't limited to her cooking - she shares her wisdom, she covers her "kids" in prayer, she helps with resumes, she sends my cousins flowers at school, she is much more up-to-date on my friends' lives than even I am! She loves each and every one of them as if they were her own.

My mom has always been my best friend. There was never a stage in my life that I didn't want to be around her. She is witty and smart and so incredibly wise. It's not just my dad, she makes me better too. She has shown me what a loving wife looks like. She has taught me life lessons by just talking to me like an adult, not a child. She has always, always led by example and when, on the rare occasion, she messed something up she didn't make excuses. She swallowed her pride and admitted her mistakes so that I wouldn't make the same ones. She insisted I play piano and she was right, gymnastics and basketball came to an end and I wish I could play the piano better. She always made me use my best manners. She pushed me to be brave and adventurous and independent - qualities that have helped me avoid many of the peer pressures of life. She has spent hours and hours and hours praying over me - over my decisions, over my tests in college, over my love life, over things that were so unimportant to the rest of the world, but were big to me. 

On the day of my wedding, it was time for me to get in the dress. It was finally mom's turn for hair and makeup (she'd let everyone else go first), but when she saw that I was going to get dressed, she told the hair/makeup ladies they would have to wait, she wanted to help me. I had bridesmaids who could have done it, but mom insisted that it was a job she had prepared for my whole life. Just like she had done hundreds of times, she put a dress over my head. Just like she had done thousands of times, she zipped me up. And just like when I was a child she got down on her knees to fasten my shoes. As always, mom sacrificed her time of getting herself ready in order to make sure I was taken care of. The picture above is one of my favorites from our wedding, and it is a perfect example of the type of mom she has been for me. As long as I live, I will never outgrown my need for my Momma.

When questioned on which commandment was the most important, Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is this, Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39 How blessed am I that I have had the opportunity to watch my mother live out these commandments daily?!

So, for all the times I failed to say thank you, 
thank you Mom. 

Thank you for being such an amazing example of Christ's love to me and everyone else that you come into contact with. Thank you for covering my life in prayer. Thank you for loving daddy, even when it means working on the computer for him or staying the night at the lake when you have things to do at home. Thank you for always proofing my papers. Thank you for staying up extra late to talk to me on the phone so that I wouldn't fall asleep while driving. Thank you for loving Brandon. Thank you for always watching Rylee while we are out of town. Thank you for helping me convince Dad that we "needed" all those different things for the wedding - carriage, gigantic arch, pews, candlesticks... Thank you for working tirelessly to make my wedding day better than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for always being on standby when I go to the grocery store - there are so many things I would've spent hours looking for if you hadn't answered your phone. Thank you for going to Bible study on your one free day. Thank you for being patient with Zac, Lord knows it is difficult at times! Thank you for being so funny - you always make me laugh. Thank you for tubing with me even though you were scared. Thank you for sewing all those curtains for my first house. Thank you for teaching children's church and ensuring that another generation will know the songs and stories of Jesus. Thank you for teaching me to kill people with kindness and to not hold a grudge, even though it can be so difficult sometimes. Thank you for being a cool mom - always providing snacks, always watching ESPN and always makes everyone feel welcome. 

Thank you Mom. 
I'm sorry I don't tell you more often.

You, above all others, deserves to hear it the most. I love you and hope that someday I'm half the mom you are.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my sweet Raegan, if only I were just half the mama you say I am! Thank you for such a precious Mothers Day gift--much better than any purchased gift (not saying I don't like those as well, but you know that about me, too!). Fortunately for both of us I have a mama who taught ME by example--I am always amazed by her selfless love. And fortunately the Lord apparently answered all those prayers when I was so ashamed of how I'd lost my patience with you or whatever and before I went to sleep would pray "please Lord take this and this and that from her rememberance"! I prayed we would be friends like my mama and I are, that God would give you a husband who loved you second only to Him, I prayed so many things-still do! And our loving Father is faithful to hear and answer our prayers. I have always been in awe of my amazing daughter --and so very thankful for the blessing we called Raegan. As always you are totally, completely without reservation loved by Mama.