My beautiful mom and me
My earliest memories of my mother are of her hands. I can remember being about three years old, laying in bed, or on the couch, with mom for a nap while playing with her hands. I loved the feel of her fingernails and would run my own fingers over them, feeling the points. I would wiggle her own slender fingers with my chubby ones and twirl her wedding rings around and around. I would sing the 'Where is Thumbkin' song as she dozed.
My mother's hands have brought me comfort since I was born. I remember fevered nights when she would sit at my bedside running her fingernails up and down the inside of my arm to relax me - something I still ask my husband to do when I'm worried. I loved watching her cook in the kitchen, working her own kind of mama magic just for our family. I adore the way her hands move like an orchestra conductor while she talks. The way she still cradles my face with her hands while she looks into my eyes, not saying one word, still makes me feel that I am more special than I will ever know.
My mother's hands were so soft the day she held them just before I walked down the wedding aisle, just as they were when she held her first grandchild. I remember the gift of watching her run wondrous fingers over the newborn skin of my first daughter, of learning how to mother by watching my mother. I love the perspective I gain when I watch Mom with my children from a distance. They way my own little brood looks at her, eyes shining with unfiltered love, coupled with the way their Mimi looks on them, as if they are perfection itself, just about does me in.
Aren't my children just an extension of myself? Watching my mother love them is the same as watching her love me - and I just didn't do enough of that when I was growing up. I forgot to pay attention to how well loved I was. Thank goodness for the second chance.
So, you see, I can blame it all on my mother.
I can blame her for the fact that not one of my children can walk past me without my hand touching some part of them. A hand on a shoulder, the top of the head, a cheek. I can't get enough hugs and kisses onto them in a day.
It is my mother's fault when I wake in the night and have to go check on the sleeping children, watching their peaceful faces and remembering the way they slept as babies. Kissing and hugging them some more when they can't shake me off.
My mother is the reason that I am able to care tirelessly for sick children, even when I am sick as well. She is the reason I know that a cold washcloth and a back rub are better than ibuprofen any day.
My children can thank my mom for the fact that I never stop pushing them to dream, to know themselves, and to put God above all else. They can be grateful to their Mimi for truth that I will never be disappointed in them - that their desires will always be their own and that I am not the choreographer of their lives. Thanks to mom I know that no design I could come up with could compare to the masterpiece God has in mind for their lives.
I blame it on my mom that I willingly (lovingly!) sacrifice my wants for my children's needs. It is my mother's fault that I attempt to pour the best of myself into my children so that they might pour the best of themselves into the world. I also apologize, without shame, when I mess up because that's what my mother taught me.
It's my mother's fault that I am like a radio tuned to 4 individual stations and know instinctively when a child needs to talk and when a child needs to be alone. I know when a hug will cause an angry face to melt into needed tears and when stern words are essential for shaking away nasty fears.
It's my mother's fault that I not only relish the chaotic, tiring, joyous days of motherhood but I revel in them. Those days when children are running in and out of the house with dripping popsicles; the days when there are more socks under beds than in drawers; the days when the mini-van feels less like a vehicle and more like a battle zone; those are the days when I am at my best.
It's my mother's fault that I am willing, through Christ, to be more, to give more, to hug more, to love more because my mother, even on her worst days, is always willing to do the same.
I'm so thankful I have a mother to blame everything on. I'm so thankful to my mom for so many things, but mostly for teaching me to love my children while I have them, because they're only on loan, and to embrace every moment.
As a young mom I often worried that my best efforts weren't good enough, but thankfully my mother often reminded me of one crucial part of parenting -
"They'll only remember the good parts - and aren't they ALL the good parts?"
So, thanks for all the good parts, Mom.