Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

He snuck into my bedroom at 6am.
It was a tick on his side that had awakened him.
Discovering it with his fingers, he scurried down from his bunk and rushed into my room, still barely light,
in need of my help to free the wiggling,tiny,bug.
Once relieved of it, he follows me into the kitchen, bare feet pattering, and looks up at me, asking,
"Can you and I stay up together and get special time,just you and me, talking,
for Mother's Day?"

In that moment, I feel like my mother.
And not just because I'm wearing my husband's big fluffy robe, like she often does.
Not just because I have her nose, and her smile, and basically everything but her eyes, her height, and her organizational tendencies.
I feel like my mother in that moment, because, in his voice I hear the longing and the admiration.
I remember that feeling.
In  a season where my stubborn pride and independence often bucks up against a mom who is a helper, a server, and a caretaker.
In a time where I too often distance her with the felt need of defense and self sufficiency,
the immature desire to prove something...
I remember distinctly a time when I hated her going out on a date with daddy.

Sure,the baby sitter was capable, and maybe even a bit fun,
but she wasn't "mom."
So I'd sometimes lay awake in my bed in the dark, waiting to see their headlights return to the driveway, hoping that nothing in the dangerous world out there would take her from me.
That was back when I was ok with needing her.
And need her I did.
And need her I do.

As a child there was this strong sense that she was the only one who could fill a space in my heart.
 She was,quite simply, the only person in the world who made me feel like she does.
She was MY MOM.
Tall and beautiful, in the way that made my peers gawk and exclaim in shock, "your mom is soooo pretty!"
Like mom's weren't supposed to look like that.
But mine did.
Lavish love and aggressive affection.
She would often scoop me up in hugs that threatened to squeeze the life right out of me, as if she simply couldn't contain in for another minute.
As if, upon the sight of me, 
little ole' me, 
she just MUST show me how much she cares.
She still does it to my kids.
My sister and I do it to ours today.

Her smile seemed ever ready.

No one made me feel so safe, so secure,so strong.

As a child, even though I've always been a daddy's girl,
it seemed that she was the only thing I couldn't live without.
It's as if mom's are like your very breath when you're young.
God uses them to bring you into the world,literally giving you breath.
But, as intended, she seemed to "give me life" in each moment of every day.
I felt as if life was what it was...good and kind an sweet...because of her role in my life.
I see it in my oldest son's eyes this morning.
That feeling that it is I who hold his world in orbit.
I see it in him when I try to leave the house for something.
It doesn't matter that I'll be home soon or that the person he's with is safe and he is loved.
There's only one you,mom.
When I'm sick no one else will do.
When I accomplish something, no ones accolades mean more.
And when you're not with me, it leaves me feeling vulnerable.
Just what if you didn't come back?
Then a hole shaped like you would forever exist.
Mom's, the space you fill is full.
Full of work and responsibility.
Full of adoration and affection.
Full of God's grace and provision.

I've grown up and I'm fine with letting my mom go on dates with dad, now.
In fact, I even let them live part of the year across the country.
I don't like it, but it doesn't keep me awake with fear and longing.

But some things never change.
Like how she still imparts beauty to my life.
As wonderful as I remember her in my little girl eyes, she's even more wonderful now.
With years of maturity and growth and sacrifice.
She's even more wonderful now.
Now, I watch her love my kids with the same wild love.
Now, I see myself doing and saying the things she did and I can only hope they feel the way she made me feel.
Now, I only hope that I can mature out of my selfish independence and learn to impart to her the same kind of selfless affection she's always shown me.
I hope she knows how big she is in my life.
How no one and no thing can or will ever fill her space.
No matter how old I get or how far I go.
She is mine, MY MOM.
And I am her's, HER DAUGHTER.
Her first little girl.
The one she bore while daddy was stuck in the bush of Alaska, flying a small plane, unable to make it home to see me enter the world.
She's never complained.
Only loved.

One day, my children are going to realize that I don't hold their world in orbit.
In fact, they will probably find out that I alone am not only responsible for their greatness,
but for their weaknesses and downfalls.
I pray that when they realize they're smarter than me and don't need me "like that" any more,
that even then,
they will simply choose to look over it.
And not resent my failures both past and present.
Because "love covers over a multitude of sin."
And this is in no short supply around here.
It's been passed on for a generation.

She started it.
They started it.
Well, actually, 
He started it when he gave up His son to die so that we could finally find true love.
They passed it on.

She knew she wasn't perfect.
As I began to realize this,too,
I also realized she didn't have to be perfect.
"love covers over a multitude of sin."
It's like the time I found a bouquet of flowers and candy on my desk at school.
I'd come in from playing,sweaty and heaving, and there...on my desk...and no one elses,
was the lavish adornment.
Other kids "ooooohed" and "awwed."
They didn't even know the whole story.

It was better than they knew.
Those flowers were there because that morning,on the way to school, we had exchanged hurtful, angry words...we've both always shared the curse of a quick tongue.
Because we started our morning with red faces and tears, but I still had to go to school.
Because I had walked slowly into school,hoping the cold air would refresh my splotchy face, disguised with emotion.
It was because of two sinner's failing and one sinner's aggressive love,in spite of it,
that the extravagant gift was on my desk and not yours.
I bet their mom's lost their tempers too.
But mine followed it up with love instead of guilty distance.

And so on this Mother's Day, I hope to do the same.
The many foolish, arrogant ways I've wronged my momma cannot be counted.
But the ways I love her can be.
The ways she still shapes me can be.
The way she reminds me of how real and heavy and wonderful this job of motherhood is.
How hopeful it is.
How I'm allowed to be imperfect.
How I'm allowed to enjoy it.

So here's a "bouquet of flowers and candy" for your desk, my love.

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