My Mother’s Day Musings
As I get ready to celebrate my first Mother’s Day with a child in my arms, I find myself overwhelmed with the goodness of it all. I have a daughter of my own to wrap my arms around. I have a beautiful mother to celebrate, and even though we aren’t together today, she’s just a phone call away.
Rick’s mom is right down the road. I’ve had the joy of introducing Eliana to her 92-year old great-grandma Wenger. And her other great-grandmother (by marriage) lives in our town. I feel richly blessed to be surrounded with so many loving women. I wish I could say that my mother’s mother, Mildred Schoch, was still with us. As this day approaches, my heart goes out to my mom and her siblings as they feel their loss especially. I remember my grandmother with a smile. She left us when I was only 14.
Her second daughter’s name is Elaine, a name that purposefully can’t easily be shortened. She wanted her children to be called the name they were given. I’ve never heard anyone call my mom Lainey or any other version of her name. She is Elaine.
My mom married my dad in the middle of college, barely 20 years old. She went to a Mennonite college and majored in Home Economics, minored in Business. My mom can tell you where anything in her house is located, right down to the side of the shelf. She has a system for doing everything. She doesn’t have people over unless her house is spotless. And she knows how to entertain guests – whether she’s having an intimate dinner party for six or a gathering for 60. I’ve never once seen her ruin a meal, have a problem with timing all the dishes she’s making, or forget to make dessert. She’s practical, competent, and calm.
Mom taught me how to do things “with excellence.” There was no such thing as light cleaning in her house. You simply did a thorough job every time. She taught me her systems and why they worked, explaining that I needed to create my own systems based on my own needs. I think of her every time I load the dishwasher, iron a shirt, or make a bed. I don’t always do things the same way she does them, but I can tell you exactly why my system works for me. One of my favorite of her systems is how to set up a buffet line for a large dinner party. You have to think through what people are doing as they walk through the line. Give them their plate first, then main dishes, then side dishes. Put the silverware and napkins at the end of the line so they don’t have to carry them as they go through. Put desserts and drinks at a separate location so people can go back for them after they put down their plate. I was at a party the other day where the dessert table was in front of the main food table. If you didn’t pick up your dessert first and carry it with you, balancing it and your food plate, then you had to break through the line later to get to it. I thought about how that caterer needed my mom to set them straight.
But my mom is much more than a good home manager. She’s also a fantastic real estate agent, able to see her client’s needs and help them find what they’re looking for. She runs her business with the same excellence with which she runs her home. Her determination to become successful in her career has been an inspiration to me.
Before she found her love for real estate, she put her skills as a teacher to the test. She taught high school math and college software classes. I’m pretty sure she’s never taken one computer or software class in her life. She just picked up the instruction books and figured it out for herself. She’s much more of a techy than I’ll ever be. When I needed a new printer, I just asked her what to get. And she found me an amazing printer.
She will never tell you this little known fact about herself, but she’s a musician too. She can pick up the harmony in any song, singing along without any need for recognition. She’d never sing a solo for you, but I grew up with her songs and credit her influence for my own love of music. She plays piano, guitar, clarinet, and flute. Maybe more? And in high school she marched in the Macy’s Day Parade as a baton twirler!
Shy in groups, miserable in front of an audience, and content to stand behind whoever is out front, my mother quietly makes things run smoothly. She loves to do things for her children, delighting in finding just the thing they need or want. She loves to be with us, cherishing our time together. My guess would be that one of the most difficult things about her cancer treatment has been the inability to travel much to be with us.
There are things I push through in life, things I don’t let upset me at the time because nothing can be done to change them so I just keep marching on. Some aspects about the birth of our daughter were like that for me. My mother was in the middle of her chemotherapy and not responding well to it physically. She was exhausted, hurting, and weak. She wanted nothing more than to jump in the car or on a plane the minute she knew I was having the baby, but she couldn’t. I had my first baby without her. She couldn’t come afterwards and take charge, showing me how to give my daughter a bath or how to calm her that first night we had her at home. I had to rely on the nurses at the hospital, my husband, and my in-laws. God provided beautifully for me and surrounded me with capable, loving people, but I missed my mom desperately. She was able to come a week later, sit on the couch, and hold her precious grand-daughter. But she was too weak to do much more. We missed that special time together.
My heart goes out to those who have lost their mothers on Mother’s Day. My heart goes out to those who desperately want to be a mother and have not yet been able to see that dream come true. My pain at not having an experience with my mom cannot compare to the pain of not having a mother at all. I pray God will comfort those who mourn today, wrapping His comforting arms of love around each one and whispering promises in their ears.
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I want to thank you, Mom, for loving me and for being there for me through so many things. You taught me to read, gave me a love for music, and helped me study and get through many classes in school. You helped me get ready for prom, prepare for my wedding day, and prepare my new home. You taught me the beauty of simplicity, the importance of loyalty and commitment within a marriage, and how to stand firm when the winds around me are trying to knock me down. My stubborn wilfulness has often been attributed to Dad, but as I’ve walked through cancer with you I’ve found that much of it comes from you too. You are a fighter and you taught me well.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for all the love you’ve given me, the lessons you’ve taught me, and the way you’ve always stood by my side. I’m so blessed to have you as my mom. Eliana is blessed to have you as her grandmother. Thank you for being who you are.