Mother's Day has come and almost gone. It was pleasant for me, with the kids excitingly jumping on the bed this morning with their gifts and cards. Hannah very sweetly wrote, "Mom how could I love you more?" in her card, thinking this up on her own, bringing me to tears. After dad showed him the letters to print, Seth printed his own name in his card, something I had no idea he could do.
My heart is full.
I am always very introspective on Mother's Day. I spend the day reflecting on my shortcomings as a mom, and pause with gratefulness that I've been blessed with two wonderful children - who will likely turn out okay in spite of my shortcomings (something I often forget). Tonight I was also thinking of some very special people in my life who have touched me in some way as a mother. There are many moms that I admire greatly, each for their own unique qualities, namely Sister Dehod, my sister-in-laws Shelley and Donna, Sherri Long, and Nadine Covill, to name a few. But there are a few in particular I want to pay tribute to, because my relationship with them is such as they have influenced me most significantly as a mother.
First of all, how can I say how much I love my sister, Laura? I remember the years she struggled as a young mom with young kids, much as I do now. She was a stay-at-home mom with one vehicle, stuck at home much of the time, something I have not had to go through. She homeschooled her kids, and her influence is probably the biggest reason I have become a strong advocate for homeschooling. I remember thinking at that time, though, that she was pretty hard on her kids. She (and Shannon) were always the strictest parents in the church. Now she has two great teenage daughters, goes through what all parents go through with teenagers, but has come to a point in her life where she trusts God more than ever, and it really shows. She is very involved and connected to her girls and has relaxed more as a parent than I ever thought she could. And that is what I hope for - if I witnessed my older sister able to let go and loosen up, perhaps I can too. Thank you Laura for always listening to me and giving me hope that I, too, can change.
Lorna. Oh how much she means to me! I worked with Lorna for years before I quit to have Hannah. We grew very close as co-workers, but more than just because of work. I grew to admire her so much over the years as I learned about her home, husband, and three girls. I felt like I knew them through her. Lorna has a way of loving passionately, and her family benefitted from that. We truly connected as friends. I saw a mom who had to struggle with very serious health issues with one of her twin girls from the time she was born. I saw how she had to balance a daughter who was frequently hospitalized with two other girls who needed her just as much - but in a different way. I saw how she made each of them feel special, not just the one who was sick all the time. And today I see three very well adjusted girls who love their mom (and dad) and are a very close family. And that is what I hope for, too. A family who remains close to their adult children for all of their life. Thank you Lorna, for your example as a mom who remains connected.
Chantal, whom I love. She has influenced me probably more than anyone. She is one of those women I believe was born to be a mom of a very large family. I have always been in great admiration of her - she always had it together for someone ten years younger than me! Even though I was a mother first, I remember how I valued her opinion even before she had her first baby. She has this calm, confident way about her. She could explain her point of view so convincingly with such a good spirit! She was well researched, so much so that I didn't have to do any if I didn't want to! She is the only one with kids my age, and I'm thankful I have someone who is right where I'm at right now. One day, Lord willing, some of her calm, gentle ways can be transmitted to me. Thank you, Chantal, for your amazing insight, and for always listening to me!
Last but not least, Mindy. She really means the world to me. The mother of two of the finest kids I know. The woman who came through one of the hardest trials of anyone, had two young kids, and felt alone and isolated for years. God has blessed her so much for her faithfulness, and I really, really admire her. Her kids have adjusted so well. She is one of those "mean moms" (her words) who is strict with her kids, but is bearing the fruit of that. She, as well, is ten years younger than me, but I feel is miles ahead of me in wisdom as a parent. She has a confidence in the stands she takes that I wish I had. She is one of the ones I call up the most for parenting advice because she has already been there, but not too terribly long ago. One piece of advice I remember most is, "I'd rather be too strict with my kids than too easy", which I believe to be true. Thank you Mindy, for your maturity and wisdom as a parent, and for listening to me constantly!
I also want to mention my little sister Lana, and my bestest friend ever, Angie. Lana is not a mother, but is truly one of the people who encourages me the most when I need encouraging, and who understands the dynamics of a family like ours. A family who seems to struggle with doubt and confidence. Angie - mother of two wonderful boys but whom I don't get to see enough because of distance, but who makes it known that she believes in me. ME. Who thinks, seriously, that I am wonderful at everything (probably because she doesn't actually SEE me enough) and thinks I'm a wonderful mother! These are two more people whom I love to infinity!
And thanks to my mom. For loving me as any true mother does, unconditionally.