My mom liked to wear dangly earrings when she dressed up. Dangly with silver feathers and turquoise beads. And blue eyeshadow. She wore Cache perfume and always had long hair. Always. Dad liked long hair. She liked ruffles, bell sleeves. Romances and royalty. No one who met her ever forgot her. People would still greet her by her maiden name long after her 20th wedding anniversary. I think she knew everyone in Northern Virginia.
She loved music. I vividly remember dancing around the living room to Bob Segar while she vacuumed. She would make mixed tapes from albums before parties or long car trips. She wasn’t a gourmet cook, but she made a mean wine-sauce spaghetti that I didn’t appreciate back then because we had it all the time. And she made really good homemade cinnamon rolls, but didn’t make them often because Dad would eat too many and get heartburn and she never did anything that made him unhappy if she could help it.
She spoke my love language. Actually, I think she taught me my love language. She shopped for Christmas all year round because she never went anywhere that her eyes weren’t open to seeing something one of us would just love. My sock drawer misses her too. She was a clearance rack queen and we reaped the benefits.
She had faith. Not just in God, but in people, and that’s much rarer. She believed in seeing the best in people. In giving second, third, and 100th chances. In remembering the good times and not dwelling on the bad times in the past. She was the master encourager. The queen of hospitality. The mother-er of everyone. I wish I had inherited more of that. (But I did inherit her willingness to live out of laundry baskets, just ask Mr. Fix-it.) She believed that one of her chief jobs after our marriages was to spoil her son-in-laws too, just like her mama always did, and then her grandbabies.
She shared a sense of humor with her siblings that I just can’t explain–but if you know any of them, you know what I’m talking about. I mean, how long can you laugh about a peanut joke? Apparently forever. She believed in marriage and family. She believed in putting your husband first and your kids second and everything else last. And the way she lived every day proved it. There was no playing he said/she said between my parents growing up. She said “no” until she talked to him herself. Period. And somehow as an adult, I ended up appreciating that.
The truth of Mother’s Day for me is that I’ve been a daughter much longer than I’ve been a mother and that’s a hard habit to break. I hear the word “mom” and I think of my own mother long before I think of myself as a mother. Honestly, sometimes I’m so busy being the mom, I completely forget that I actually am a mom–if that makes any sense. But you never forget that you have a mom.
Or that you don’t.
On Mother’s Day, I miss my mom. But this is the amazing truth of motherhood that she taught me…A mother’s heart grows. There’s no picking favorites or “making room in your heart” for another child. When a mother prays for strength, God gives her love. When a mother prays for patience, God gives her love. And when a mother prays for peace and quiet, God gives her more love. Her heart starts out like a normal person, but then it just grows and grows and grows, like an endless sunrise, forever ascending over the generations of her family. Forever.