Saturday, May 8, 2010
Well, if you wanna know where I get most of my parenting philosophies, see the above picture.
That's my Mama.
That little ball of energy and estrogen is somethin' else. Let me tell you what... she's one of the most genuine, real-deal, up front, simplistic, stubborn, childlike, wisdom-filled, unique creatures on the face of the earth. She's opinionated about everything... and by everything, I mean EVERYthing. She's even opinionated about things she doesn't know about or understand. She's hard of hearing in one ear and can't hear what you said from across the room, but can somehow hear your thoughts before they even come out of your mouth. She yells at the actors to look behind them in a scary movie, bawls like a baby in the sad movies, and laughs at parts no one else thinks is funny in comedies.
I can't talk about her without feeling a warmth of pride in my heart. And since this is my blog and I can brag on my family endlessly, I wanted to post a few memories of why my Mom is my hero... and a mom we all should aspire to be like.
I remember Mom overcoming her avid fear of reptiles to kill a baby snake wrapped around the ladder of my Nana's pool as I climbed down it. Mom was bad to the bone that day. (I haven't seen that side of her since.)
I remember Mom driving through a coop of chickens that were out in the road for some random reason on our way to town. And she laughed hysterically.
Once, she decided to build me a tree house. The finished product was basically 2x4s nailed to a few trees to make a circlish-square area. (Nevermind that treehouses are supposed to be up IN A TREE, not on the ground.) It was terrible and I never played in it because it stunk as a tree house, and again, there were reptiles out there.
I wanted a pair of purple Nike velcro tennis shoes. My friends had them, and I could not live without them. I have no idea how long my mom saved her grocery money to get them, but one day, there they were. I remember knowing that the fad had passed, but knowing she got them for me made them the best shoes I ever had.
I wanted Capri-Suns SO BADLY in my lunch box. I had no idea that being a stay-at-home-mom to children whose dad was a struggling preacher in the 80s equaled not being able to buy Capri-Suns. But I know Mom's heart hurt because we couldn't afford them. So, she told me my thermos had "homemade Capri-Sun" in it. I never knew it was Kool-Aid.
Once, my Mom turned a cartwheel and split her pants in from of all of my cousins. Sigh.
Before she had dental work, Mom had a gap between her front teeth you could parallel park a truck in. I thought it was cool because she could spit water out of the gap like a fountain you'd see in a mall.
Whenever we went on field trips, Mom went. She never missed a single field trip of mine (including my senior trip), and I'm pretty sure she only missed one of my sister's. She packed snacks for everyone, knew not to stand over me the whole time, and always bought me a souvenir from our day together.
My house was THE house to hang out in. We had no pool, no computers, no fancy tv, no basement filled with elaborate games or pool tables... We had HER. And my friends couldn't get enough of her.
Every Christmas, our toys were laid out like something out of a catalog. I remember standing and taking it all in, not wanting to destroy her art.
Somehow Mom would fall and sprain her ankle EVERY SINGLE WINTER in the snow.
The day her grandma died, I went with Dad to tell her. I must've been 13 or so. Because Dad was in ministry and wasn't getting paid much of anything, Mom put my sister at a babysitter's and cleaned apartments after people moved out of them. We went to the apartment she was cleaning, and Dad told her that Grandma had died. I will never, ever, ever forget the cry that came from her toes, as she sank down the wall onto the floor. She was wearing a gold sweatshirt and black leggings. For the first time, my Mom looked like a little girl on that floor. I will never forget that moment, and the love I saw in her for her precious Grandma.
The day of my high school graduation, Mom and Rod (who I was not dating, btw...) put signs all the way up 441 saying "WAY TO GO, JILL!" I was a celebrity by the time I got to school.
The day Mom and Dad dropped me off at college in West Palm Beach. My room was at the end of the hall, on the total opposite end from the elevator. They waved goodbye, and Mom buried her head in Dad's chest and sobbed. Dad said she cried the whole 4 hours back, and many days afterwards.
The day I found out I was pregnant with Abi, after six long years of trying. They were on vacation, but I couldn't wait until they got home. I called them. Dad cried. Lori cried. Mom screamed and cried. She came home two days later with three outfits, a book on praying for your child, a blanket, and a stuffed lamb.
She sent us on a scavenger hunt a couple of years ago all over the place, where we had to sing in a car dealership, sing in a pottery shop, sing in a house, and who knows what else... and eventually ended up with Disney annual parkhopper passes.
When Mom's sister came down for a surprise birthday visit. We wrapped her in a refrigerator box, and Mom opened it. It was SO fun to see her reaction.
When we hosted Mom's 50th birthday party. Her two best friends came down as part of the surprise. And the biggest surprise was the cruise Dad sent us all on.
Can I tell you how this woman affects every part of our lives? How Abi defends her every decision? How Dad's face changes when he talks about her? How Lori worries about her? How Seth and Rod won't let her lift a box, a chair, or a book that weighs too much? How I do not know how to live without her influence in my every day?
Mom, thank you for everytime you knew whether to spank my butt or let me cry. Thank you for having discernment of 99.99% accuracy into my doings. Thank you for every sandwich you made, every snack you prepared, and every "homemade Capri-Sun" you put in my lunch box. Thanks for going without new clothes for most of my childhood so I would feel like I was just as pretty as everyone else. Thanks for knowing when it was time to let go of my hand in a parking lot. Thank you for praying over me while I slept. I am eternally thankful for the fact that you were thinking of my husband long before I cared about boys. I am thankful you taught me how to make biscuits, make my bed, and make babies. Thank you for seeing what was coming before I could and for preparing me for the worst while hoping for the best in my teenage years. Thank you for getting the smallest piece of chicken, the crumbliest piece of cake, and the aisle seat on the airplane. We had some rough spots, but we did alright, didn't we?
We're finally there, Mom. You're my best friend. Thanks for not trying to ever be that until now.
I love you, crazy lady... my first home, my forever home.