|Photo by susansimon on Flickr|
I have been blessed with a wonderful family, despite our assorted quirks and problems. My mother, in particular, is one of the most loving people I have ever met. Our personalities are quite different in many ways. I am much more selfish than she is, and much quicker to assert myself. But she has passed on a lovely legacy, and the older I get the more I see of her in me.
1. Love of reading and story-telling. Truthfully, I think just about everyone on both side of the family has this, but it was my mom who understood why I always had books with me wherever we went (even my favorite mysteries hidden by the hymnal in church). She shared many of her favorite authors with me, and as I grew older I shared some with her. Like family history, a single reference from Anne of Green Gables can cover an entire conversation's worth of ideas.
My mother has always had a marvelous gift for story-telling, and she would tell us fabulous stories when my sister and I were little. We would all be having so much fun that we often stayed up far later than she intended, caught up in the adventure she was weaving. Once we were older, my sister and I began to make up stories for each other. Now I share stories with my children and listen to the incredible tales they come up with. It carries with it all the snuggly feelings of a warm, fleecy blanket of tradition.
2. She was unembarrassed. Perhaps the single most powerful gift she gave us was not showing embarrassment (although I am sure she must have felt it), whether from our misbehavior at times, my outspokenness, or impulsiveness. She always encouraged me to follow God, and supported me when I believed He was guiding me, even at the cost of her own reputation. Once I told her that I believed God wanted her boss to know something. He was not a believer, but she unhesitatingly shared with him. I don't remember how he responded, but I remember that she took me seriously enough to tell him.
3. An ear for music. My mom can hear a song once, and then sit down and play it at the piano. I am no where near that good, but there have many times when being able to play by ear has enriched my life.
4. A tender heart. My mother has always been able to empathize with anyone who is hurting. She is so loving that people pour out their hearts to her and she is always able to comfort them. She feels what they are going through to such an extent that she doesn't wind up saying the wrong thing and making it worse. I have a long way to go to develop that as much as she has, but she inspires me.
5. She let me try. Whether it was hanging by my knees from the top of the swingset and flipping down or climbing to considerable heights in the old tree that towered over the roof of my grandparents' house, she had enough confidence in me to let me try. (And as I have always been on the clumsy side, that undoubtedly took effort on her part). Now I often catch my breath at stunts and tricks that the kids are eager to show me. I envision all the ways they could break their necks. But I am trying to find the balance that my mom had, between safety and encouraging their confidence. It is much harder than she made it look.
I wish all of you could know the beautiful person that my mom is. I am so grateful to her, and admire her strength and courage more the older I get. If I can pass on even some of the love and gentleness she shows, then I will consider myself a woman of grace.