Friday, May 6, 2011

Before She Was Mother, She Was Mommy

Everyone has a mother.  Probably most people would say their relationship with their mother was complicated.  I honestly don’t know any mother who is totally worthy of sainthood, except for maybe someone like Mother Teresa.  Yes, she would count.  Not to minimize her in any way, but remember, she never gave birth to a child.  For that reason, she really doesn’t count.

I think all mothers need huge doses of grace.  I think our perfect mother, Mother Teresa depended on those huge downloads of God’s grace too.  I remember my mother would say often, “Lord, give me patience.”  I am told that as a child I would repeat her statement saying “Lord give me a patience.”  

My relationship with my mother was typical.  It was typical in that it wasn’t perfect.  This is my second Mother’s Day since she went home to be with Jesus.  I know she is happy to be home.  In her later years, probably the last 20, we heard over and over, I just want to go home to be with Jesus.  She is where she wants to be.

I’ve thought so often of her legacy.  I so wish that legacy of faith and commitment to Jesus had continued with her sons, and her grandchildren.  While that saddens me, it also gives me hope.  She never wavered in her own faith.  She finished her race and has received her prize.  If she can do it alone, with no one with her, so can I. 

While we had our share of misunderstandings and hurt, I understand her better.  It’s hard being a mother.  You give your best, your very best, and often, regardless of how hard you try, it isn’t enough.  It’s not your fault.  It’s not anyone’s fault.  It just is.  I’ve always felt my mother did her best.  I’ve written before of wondering what demons she chased that made her who she was – I suspect like most of us, she was only partially successful in chasing them.  Life makes you who you are. 

This Mother’s Day I will think of my Mother – I will remember when she was Mommy before she told me to call her Mother.  I will remember the woman who sat at the piano and sang with me.  I remember the mother who baked Snickerdoodles for me because they were a favorite.  I might make her potato salad and think of warm afternoons in the backyard or trips to Wolf’s Pond Park.  I will remember the woman whose anger would flair only to come to my bedroom and ask me to forgive her for losing her temper.  I will remember her sitting at the Necchi sewing machine, crafting beautiful garments for me to wear.  I will remember train rides to Pennsylvania and summers in Waynesboro and Hagerstown. 

Yes, those are the memories I should remember this Sunday.  I have other memories, but the older I get the more I realize that humans are imperfect.  All we can do is to do our best and pray that other’s give us grace to understand that our best is all we have to give.

I wonder if my brothers remember.  I have no one left with which to share my memories of mommy, not Mother, not Grandma, not MamMaw but my mommy.  Someday in heaven, I’ll get to see mommy and daddy.  Perhaps we will be like that family of three living in Brooklyn so many years ago.  I hope the others find Jesus and serve Him and join us.  But I’ll be there and we’ll be together again.  


  1. Joyce
    Your writing and your sincere heart are exceptional.
    Happy Mother's Day to a real and faithful mother and the One who knows that truth holds it in His heart.

  2. Love your stories, and these photos are priceless!
    Have a wonderful Mother's Day! <3


Please keep comments appropriate