Tuesday, April 17, 2007

For Mom

This beautiful painting graces my living room wall and is a treasured possession. My very own professional artist mother painted this watercolor. The subject of the painting is something that Mom has always enjoyed -- from smooth glassy lakes to crashing ocean waves, Mom loves water. The painting is near to my heart, because it reminds me of her continually, not just that she is there, but of who and what she is.


It is my mom’s birthday today.  I sent her a card that said simply, “Because of you, counting my blessings takes a very, very long time.” And it is so true. My mom was one of a shrinking minority of women who stayed home with her children.  When I was a child, I never thought for one moment about what it would be like to come home daily to nobody, and I never thought about how the house got clean, and I never thought about what Mom might have been sacrificing to give us kids a stable and loving upbringing. I was involved in Campfire Girls and swim team and gymnastics and other things just because I had a mom who stayed home. Mom cheered us kids on at soccer and water polo and baseball and music lessons and tall flags team, and she COULD do that, because she didn’t have her life committed to someone or something else.  Many of the other kids performed or raced or played without any family in the audience, and then went home to an empty house. Did they know someone loved them? I knew someone loved me.  Mom was (and is) committed to her family, to ME.


The stress of my high school years was the nagging question, “What are you going to do after high school?” or, “Where are you going to college?” I could never really decide, and then feel like I had made the right decision. In all the career guidance classes and seminars I sat through, no one ever suggested that being a wife and mother was even a choice, or else I might have said, “THAT! That’s what I want to be! I want to be what my mom is!” So off I went to college, since that is what everyone, including me, expected me to do, and got a degree in biology, which I don’t use today except that I can identify whether the stuff growing at the base of the toilet is a mold or a fungus. (And here I must say that while, if I had it to do over again, I probably wouldn't go to college, I am very grateful to my parents for sending me.  I got a wonderful husband out of the deal :o)


On a recent visit to my parents’ house, as we were sitting in traffic somewhere, Mom told me she now is wishing she had prepared for a career, and that she had not stayed home. I was surprised, and I think I mumbled something about how grateful I was (and am) that she DID stay home and that she DIDN’T have a career somewhere. I know that for me, independence came soon enough. It would not have been good for me to have been on my own after school.  I am the person I am today because Mom was always there. Mom’s love for Dad and her love for my brothers and me gave my life stability. It was an anchor. Her giving up a career and postponing chasing after other interests is one key reason why I have a good marriage and a happy family. That is a gift that she gave me when I left home. I can’t imagine what my life would be without Mom as I know her.  A working mother would have been a completely different mother.


So, Mom, on your birthday, let me tell you thank you. It has taken me tooooo long to realize what you gave when you stayed home with us kids. Certainly it took being a mom, myself, to see that, but I wish I had been less self-centered and more thoughtful when I was growing up, so that I could have expressed this sooner, like when I was 12 or 16 or 21 or 35. Thank you for all the times you stayed in my room talking, when I should have been asleep.  Thank you for all the times you trusted me, even when I came in at 1:00 a.m.  Thank you for all the times you went out of your way to accommodate my friends.  Thank you for loving me when I was most unloveable! Thank you for encouraging me to write. Thank you for sooooo patiently teaching me to sew. Thank you for all the times you have helped me/us move. Thank you for sticking by me and believing in me, in times when you can’t identify with me or understand my heart. Thank you, most of all, for being home.


If I could truly express what it has meant to me now to have had a mom who was THERE, you would change your mind about that career. You had a career, and you did it well.  It had a much better and longer-lasting impact on the world than anything else you ever wanted to be. I love you so much.  Happy Birthday, and God bless you specially, today and always.




  1. What a wonderful tribute to your mother! I did not have a mother that was THERE, but wish I had. You are so blessed. Thanks for sharing and reminding me to always be there, not only physically, but completely.

  2. Opps! The last comment was by me, PlainJane. I was busy setting up our 10-yr-olds blog and forgot to switch over to my login. :). Which now, the comment sounds kinda funny coming from a 10-yr-old ROFL

    ps - I like your mom's painting too. I'm with her, I love water.

  3. Isn't it awesome when your kids finally get it!

    Because of Jesus, Bobbie

  4. did i ever thank you for your beautiful tribute? thank you thank you thank you!!! you are precious to me and i love you sooo much!

    i wish i had had the presence of mind to let my mom know how much she meant to me...when i had the chance. but she's aware of what a duffus of a daughter i was/am.

    ps - your post on Mrs. Lot was very thought-provoking (as usual).

  5. That was such a terrific post! It made me cry. I hope and pray that my daughter feels the same about me someday.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I wish I had a mom that stayed home instead of signing me up for every day care and athletic dream she had (which I hated). I don't have a relationship with her today, and I have no desire to have one. If I never see her again, it wouldn't be too late. She told me that I ruined her career. I don't know how that is true because she worked while I was handed off to everyone. I don't mean to sound appreciative, but I sincerely have no warm fuzzies. No relationship was ever developed and she is a mean nasty person today that has a lot of money (which I want no part of..). You are making the right choice to stay home and develop the relationships with your children. They will love you for it as you do your own mom. I wish I had what you have.


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