10 Things I Loved About My Mother...

Tomorrow is Mother's Day. A day filled with mixed emotions. Feelings of love, gratitude, and pleasure as I spend time with my sons, yet mixed with feelings of grief and longing for my mother, who died as the result of a car accident almost 19 years ago. 

I miss her...still. Sometimes I feel a bit foolish, maybe even immature, for feeling this way. Shouldn't I be over it by now? Then I remember sitting at my son's baseball game years ago, talking with the grandmother of one of the players. This grandmother, Betty, now in her early 70's, had just lost her mother, who had lived well into her 90's. Betty said, "I really miss her." And for some reason, her comment just affirmed that it was okay for me to still feel the loss of my mother...even now. 

I can relate to the words C.S. Lewis after the death of his mother, "With my mother's death all settled happiness, all that was tranquil and reliable, disappeared from my life. There would be much fun, many pleasures, many stabs at joy; but no more of the old security. It was sea and islands now, the great continent has sunk like Atlantis."

The other morning as I was thinking about mom, I thought about 10 random things I miss about her and jotted them down. In no particular order of priority, I wrote...

* Her smile...

* Her laugh...

* Her eyes lighting up when you entered the room...

* Her bread...swedish rye, cinnamon roll braids, wheat bread...

* Her warm hug...

* Her singing to my children when they were small...

* Her "swear" words..."Uffda," "Uffda mae," or just "Uff"...

* Her chicken curry...

* Her prayers for me, for my children...

* Her utter delight in her grandchildren...

I can still remember how excited she was when I called from Alaska to tell her and Dad that we were expecting our first baby. She just squealed with delight on the phone! She already had 3 grandchildren by this time, but you would never have known that by her response...like it was her first. She immediately made plans to book her flight to Anchorage to arrive close to the projected birth date. Drew came 12 days early...so I had wait a few days until she got there, but I was so thrilled to have her. Mom had an amazing way of quieting almost any baby...including our colicky, fussy, son...and I was to thankful for her presence, her wisdom.

 Mom..with our son, Drew.

Mom..with our son, Drew.

Our second son was born after we moved back from Alaska, and Mom and Dad were living in Seattle by that time. I had so hoped Mom could be with me in the delivery room this time, but she came down with a severe sinus infection and had to miss his birth. Her delight when she saw him and held him made up for it though!

 Mom, with our son, Dane...

Mom, with our son, Dane...

Even though I had a degree in Psychology, with a focus on child development, I soon learned that I had a lot to learn...and my mother was one of my best resources. She was so loving, so practical...and I so appreciated her input. Sadly, this does not seem to be the case with many young mothers today. As I listen to my friends who are grandmothers talk about their interactions with their daughters/daughters in law regarding child rearing or simply babysitting, I am appalled at the lack of respect shown my friends. These young mothers seem to place more credence in things they have read in books, "mommy blogs", or Web MD...than words and practices gained by years of experience.

One of my "grandma" friends gets instructions from her daughter in law on how to hold a baby every time she visits. Another gets chastised if she doesn't stick to the feeding/sleeping regimen her daughter has in place. Another was "shamed" for attempting to comfort a screaming grandson without "swaddling" him first. Really?!! Whatever happened to the idea of "Grandma's house, Grandma's rules?" I always knew that my mother (and my mother in law) would pretty much do whatever she thought was best, when she babysat...whether that involved giving them cookies, popsicles, letting them stay up a little later, watching movies, or skipping a nap because they were having too much fun. One of my sons was a very challenging child, and yet he loved spending time with his grandmas...and that was more important to me than any diet or schedule I followed at our home. Our younger son loved to rise very early, run across the driveway to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and eat breakfast with them...then come home and eat breakfast (or not) with us. My parents accident occurred on the day we were celebrating his 9th birthday...and he just recently had that date tattooed over his heart. Though I am not a fan of tattoos generally, I couldn't balk at this one. All I am saying to young mothers is let your children enjoy their time with their grandparents...without all the rules and stipulations. Grandparents can impact their lives in special ways. Okay...enough with my rant!

On this Mother's Day, remember that all the little things you do for your children and grandchildren do matter. All these seemingly insignificant words and actions speak love into lives. And if your mother is still living, go "love" on her this weekend! This song by Jim Brickman says it well...