Share your toys, clean your room, it’s time to come to dinner.  Think of other’s before yourself, always put yourself in their shoes. I love you more.  You can do it, I’ll be there, there’s no one I love more.

My mom has the most beautiful way of making all five of her children feel like her favorite – and that’s because we are.  She is a sweet and gentle spirit, a precious woman who always wanted to be a mother. I am blessed to have a mom who wanted me so much.  I’m the oldest of this brood and mom and dad had waited 6 years to hear the doctor say, “You’re pregnant.”  After that two more girls and two boys came about every 2 years.  Now we go down four generations and there are 54 members of our clan!  And Mom would have us all in her home every day if we could.  She amazes me even when I think she must be crazy sometimes!

Mom has a gift in the kitchen.  It’s not just that she’s a marvelous cook, but it’s that she wants to feed us and spoil us with whatever our favorite thing is.  I wonder if she realizes how rare her hospitality and selflessness are? And if we let her, she’ll have us for the holidays and cook the entire meal by herself (those are times when I think she’s crazy!).  This is one way that she tells us how much she loves us.  For a long time each person in the family would have their favorite dessert prepared and then a couple of group favorites to boot!  We’re a little too numerous now but believe me; I can always find a favorite.  Being the finicky person that I am, I usually have a ‘separate bowl’ of whatever jello pudding or delight that mom has made up that doesn’t have any pineapple, coconut, raisins or any of that other nasty stuff in it.  And ‘no’, my brothers and sisters have never said anything about that! Ha ha!  Right!

But mostly when I think about Mom I take my eyes back to precious days of growing up.  I can see her arms full of heavy wet laundry while she hung them on the line to dry. (Except for that one time when a garter snake tried to help her and somehow all those clothes got spread all over the lawn.)  I can still smell things coming from the cast iron skillet that never left the stove top.  I see her coming home late from helping Dad in dirty fields after dark, but going in and making us a hot meal.  She had to be so tired but we would never have known it.  She sat in the floor and played board games and card games with us.  We’re all pretty good at math because of it.  And every so often we’d play Elvis real loud and dance in the dining room, Mom right there with us.  She’d probably kill me if I told you how good she is at ‘the twist.’  I wish I had a count on how many softballs and baseballs she caught in her glove.  She was so embarrassed when she was hind catching and a tipped ball went over her glove and gave her a black eye!  She worried it wasn’t so lady like, but how many kids are so blessed to have mom in the backyard playing catch with them?  She coached us girls and I will still say today that she was the best coach any of us has ever had.  She was at all of our games and other stuff whether we were being the star or sitting the bench, and we knew she was proud of us either way.  She chased balls on the tennis court and listened to me recite poetry with the same attention and love.  Once my sister and I made her cry because we were yelling at each other. We were around 12-13 and that’s just what girls do sometime.  We stopped immediately!  And I really don’t recall ever fighting again.  She let us get dirty and she taught us to clean up.  She gave me a childhood that I wish every child could have. Whenever I am with her, I am home.

Mom and Dad still live in the home we grew up in.  It’s been added on to and updated a bit but it still feels like ‘home’ to all of us. I don’t think it has much to do with the walls or the roof.  It’s the deep abiding love that lives inside.  It’s the echoes of children laughing, the pressure cooker steaming, and card battles that make it a place of comfort.  It’s being older and realizing the grace and beauty Mom put in to good times, bad times, hard times and easier days.  She made all of ourdays easier.

So to my precious mother, the Martha who cared for us and the Mary who played with us, I say ‘Thank you.’ Your shining hazel eyes and beautiful smile give me comfort and joy even as I am now a grandmother myself.  And your example still shows me what it looks like to see our Father here beside us.  I will love you always.