She would be a rock in our home. Strong and steady.
But she would also be a pebble. Smooth and gentle.
She would spend years giving us a peaceful childhood. One that was without excessive conflict, one where there were no fears of anyone leaving, one where mom picks you up from school to bring you home for your afternoon snack at the kitchen table. Every night she would put a meal on that same table, a table she bought at a garage sale and would paint many times over the next 30 years. I learned much about life and God and relationships around that table. I learned much from her. Not just from what she said. But from how she lived.
She lived with joy and purpose. Her easy laugh filled our home and she was our biggest fan. She even loved us when we looked like this, and still denies that we ever went through an awkward phase!
During my teenage years, my mom and I had our share of disagreements like anyone else. We didn't always see everything the same way. Generations do not. But she was determined that we would talk it out, and would stay up until the wee hours of the morning with me doing so. Those late night tearful conversations would keep us close at heart. I never did choose rebellion. I thank God for that. And I thank both my parents, including my mom and her willingness to choose conversation over sleep to try to understand and nurture her teenage daughter.
I was sixteen when her world turned upside down. The doctor would call a few days after Christmas and say that the lump in her breast was indeed cancerous. She would lose that breast, and her hair. But she did not lose her joy. Though I cried many tears during that time and saw her cry a few, I remember that being a time of much laughter in our family. There is something about my mom that finds joy in the journey, no matter the circumstance. I know it has to do with the way Jesus shines through her. The way her heart rests in His. The way she chooses to see His goodness.
This weekend, my brother flew into town to surprise my mom for Mother's Day. He and I would be able to walk part of the survivor's lap at a Relay for Life with our survivor. God, we thank you for that walk. We wore caregiver pins she gave us. But in truth, she has always been our caregiver.
She daily cares for her own mother as age has begun taking its toll on her mind and body. I marvel at what she gives. She has cared for all of us through any health encounter we have faced. I remember toast and tea on trays when I was sick on the couch as a child. Then meals and anything we needed when HELLP syndrome wracked my body and Madi came into this world a month early.
From the moment our dimpled girl's first cry rang into the middle of the night, my mom has been the most extraordinary Grammie anyone could ask for. My kids have grown up wrapped in her love and care. She is a safe place for them. She is comfort and understanding and fun. They have mentioned a few times they wouldn't mind moving in with her. It makes me laugh. I understand.
She has meant more than any words could say to our little family of four. She is generosity to its fullest extent. Joy and laughter that brighten the toughest of days. Understanding that gives us a soft place to land. Wisdom and grace on the journey.
She thinks we are amazing.
But we know she is.
Her worth is far above rubies. The investments she has made and continues to make surpass any worldly investments she could ever have made. She is a woman of great value. We need her. We love her.
And we rise up this Mother's Day and call her blessed.