I can’t seem to chart out a successful path that will express the feeling I have towards my Mother. I find this condition to be both amusing and frustrating. She is perhaps the one person that understands me best and could, if called upon, provide chapters on who I am while I struggle with these 904 words.
She is my earliest memory in childhood, sitting on the front steps of the house reading Curious George. At any lasting memory or event she has a role to play even if the role is nothing more than “Passive Observer.” She has done much to shape the character and personality I possess and even at forty years of age I continue to seek her approval and praise.
I can not recall a single time she has told me something I could not do. I remember in seventh grade I told her I was joining the swim team even though I could only dog paddle. She looked at me for a second and said “Sounds good to me”. I think she figured I could sink or swim all on my own without her opinion on it. I swam for two seasons.
I told her I was rejecting the Catholic faith when I was 16 and the only thing she said was “You have to tell your father”. I did not have the courage to do that for another year but when I did she stood next to me. Dad was not happy about it but he knew me well enough to know I was not rejecting him, just his church. It was a long time before I was able to appreciate how much grace he showed then.
My Mother and I have often had conversations with just our eyes. We have a closeness that at times transcends words and when it happens we always share a secret smile in recognition of this awesome gift. Those moments are much less now because we live so far apart but that just makes them more special.
My Mother is the activist in the family and her passion, stubbornness and strength have often blazed trails of awareness in the family. Once started moving she is hard to stop and very often she has gone ahead solo. When I accepted Christ as a teen and was "On Fire", she sparked too. Her passion led a revival that is still at work in our family. It took some time, tears and a lot of forgiveness but all of my siblings at some point hit our knees and prayed the “Sinners Prayer”.
She is an active and involved person not just in her family but in the issues of the world she lives in. She is politically awake and informed just as much as she knows who has a birthday or what store is having a sale this weekend. She has opinions on any topic that interest her and is willing to share them if called upon. I advice you to know your stuff before you call her out.
She is smart in general and has moments of utter brilliance. Dad brought an old computer home from his work long before it was popular to have one like it is today. With no books or help she figured out not just how to make the computer work but learned enough to know the computer was not going to keep up with her. It took a year or two for stores to start selling the computer she already wanted. She has needed a few upgrades since then too.
She is not all positive and goodness. She has allowed anger and pride to so consume her that the foundation of the family was in danger. She has had many periods of severe conflict and has lobbied others to her causes causing large rifts. There are dark times of our family history that have caused wounds so deep only God could heal them. Some healing God has yet to make complete for us.
In my younger days I could not see the flaws in my mother’s character. I saw her as a boy sees a faultless mother he loves but as in all things this too passed. I remember when the illusion of perfection fell for me. I lost a lot of respect for her then that maturity and wisdom later restored. Today I see her much closer to who she really is.
I see her as someone that struggles daily to overcome her nature just like the rest of us. I think she does a better job than most but has more work to do. I see her as a woman that has learned to guard her heart from pain but does not let that stop her from showing love and affection to others. I look at her and recognize she is the product of a life lived intensely and fully and I wonder how I measure up next to her.
I wish I had the words to describe what value this woman has brought to the lives of those she has loved. I see her influence in the lives of my brothers and sisters and we are all better for it. There will come a day when I will have to accept that our next chance at fellowship will have to be in Heaven. I hope that before then I can find the words for her.