Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Mom,

Sorry this is a few days late, but you got the slide show on time, right?!

Mom, you mean more to me with each passing day, each passing year. You've always been a steady assurance in my life, someone I can lean on, talk to, and laugh with. Okay maybe not always. There were a few years in my teens when I didn't think you were very smart or funny at all. But turns out, you were right all along. (I hate that!!)

I can only begin to imagine the feelings of bewilderment and love that you had as a first-time mother at nineteen. Back in the 50s, that was not a big deal. Today, teen moms are usually not in a stable marriage, but you were. The youngest of twelve, you knew right where to go for "on the job training" and support--your own mom!

Nineteen years later...I came along. NINETEEN YEARS of mothering; you had it down pat by the time I was born! Nine kids, we came in clusters of 3 it seemed--Marla, Julie, and I were all 15 months apart. As a mother now, I know how hard that must have been. No sleep. at. all.

And yet somehow, you managed to sew most of our clothes and keep us fed and happy. There were no video tapes, no Walmarts, none of this "let's indulge the kids first" stuff. Growing up on a farm, we didn't have a lot of money--we didn't take any vacations until my oldest sister moved "up north" and we visited her on occasion. We didn't have a lot of toys. You were too busy to entertain us all day...and yet, we managed to survive and thrive. And I think, be happy, balanced children. (I guess the jury is still out on that "balanced" part!)

My favorite memories of growing up with you as my mom are...
--working together with you to clean up old sheds and junk around the farm (while Dad asked, "Why do you need to do that for??")
--picking strawberries, snapping beans, and husking corn with you in your massive garden
--getting up early to hit all the good yard sales in Platteville (with Marla as your street navigator)
--getting you to laugh so hard that you cried and shook

Simple times. Nothing fancy. Just being a big family, working together on the farm.

Now I have my own children to share chores with, to laugh with, to play with...

...to stay up at night with, to pray over, to nurse back to health...

...to thank God for, to rejoice in...to, as Martina McBride sings, "love them so much it hurts."

I love to see our children with you, my mom, their grandma. I love how our oldest girl looks so much like her grandma at that age.

I hear and see myself becoming a little bit like you. "Put something on your feet!" "The best gift you can give me is to just be nice and not fight." "Why can't you pick up your stuff when you're done with it??" "Just be honest with yourself and don't jump to conclusions about people."

It's not as horrifying as I thought it would be. In fact, it's kind of nice.

Thank you for inspiring me to be a mom, and to love being a mom. You have just the right blend--you don't interfere, you aren't pushy or needy, you don't guilt us, and yet you are always there to help or to hang out with, if we need a friend or advice. You've been there, done that, and you are the ultimate example of sacrifice and wisdom. And love.

I love you, Mom!!

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies...
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.--selections from Proverbs 31


Blogger Astrid said...

What a beautifully written letter. :)

May 12, 2009 at 7:34 AM  

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