Monday, November 9, 2009

The Gift of My Mother

I heard an interesting little ditty on Christian radio this morning, regarding mothers, and it caught my attention, since I have one and I am one.  The original thing I heard went in one ear and out the other, but left something behind as it went, something that blossomed and took on a life of its own.  It got me thinking about motherhood in general and my own mother in particular. 

It's interesting how God pairs us up, mother and daughter.  Sometimes He'll put two very alike women together, and sometimes it's just the opposite.  I suppose, in terms of personality and disposition, I'm more like my grandmother, or my dad, than like my mom.  We are often on opposite ends when it comes to mothering styles, politics, and general view of the world.  I think God pairs up daughters like me with mothers like her for a purpose.  I have much to learn from her, and she has so many characteristics I would like to emulate, at least as well as my stubborn, hard-headed, overly-practical personality will allow.

My mom was never much of a disciplinarian, but she was always there when we needed her.  She could be counted on for discretion, if it was a problem of an embarrassing nature, and she'd keep her mouth shut afterward.  When I'd do something extremely dumb, if she knew I'd learned my lesson, she'd refrain from bringing up the subject any further.  If it was a "cash flow" issue, she'd find a few bucks from somewhere to help out.  She would always come up with a creative solution to even the stickiest of situations, and she made it look so easy.  And she always seems to know when all that's really needed is a sympathetic ear.  If I ever just needed to "vent", she'd not only listen, but badmouth my adversaries even more profoundly than I!

She was, and still is,  the most fiercely loyal person I have ever known, with the possible exception of HER mother.  It didn't matter what I ever did, she stuck by me, and everyone else who was in her heart.

She also has one of the most tender and loving spirits, and an incredibly sympathetic disposition.  She lives her life with a natural graciousness and unselfishness.  She bears her physical maladies with a poise I will never have. 

One of the most quietly profound things my mom ever did was to give me an article about Madame Curie, an early female scientist and a pioneer if the field of radioactive materials. She probably doesn't even remember this, but I'll never forget it.  That article sparked an interest in science, as well as an immediate love for reading about the lives of other people.  Both of those interests are a big part of my life today, some 40 years later, and I have her to thank for exposing me to things I will spend a lifetime enjoying.

In so many ways, large and small, my mom has shaped my personality for the better, and is still doing so today.  Besides leaving her indelible mark on me, she is also shaping my children, and my grandchildren, for which I am even more grateful.  Life is hard, and they need her example.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you.

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