Happy Birthday Mom

It has been some time since I’ve posted here. If I’m only going to write once or twice a year, (not my plan), this is going to be one of those occasions.

Today would be my mom’s 77th birthday.

It has been 3 and a half years since she’s left us. My memories of her bring warmth to my heart and life. I don’t feel sadness. OK, maybe a little. Thankfully, there were no words left unsaid. In the last 15 years of her life, we really found our relationship stride.

I’ve spoken to so many heartbroken parents over the things their children say and do. I tell them of my personal experience. I was never a wild rebel child. But I definitely went through my stages of hyper independence. The sacrificial love my mom had for me went largely unappreciated by me during my teens and twenties. I always loved her. But I didn’t allow myself to marvel at the character of this inspiring woman God gave me as a mom. But I eventually did, and I believe that in a vast majority of cases, the kids do eventually figure it out and appreciate their parents.

There are so many questions I now wish I had asked her. There are so many things I really don’t know about her. But I’ll never forget that one night during the Christmas season prior to my parents 8 year stint in Costa Rica. One night, while Dad was in bed, Mom and I were in the living room. We were each lying on our own respective couches. The only lights in the house that were on were the lights on the Christmas tree that was in the corner, between the two couches. It was this night I asked my mom some serious questions about some of the most difficult days and years of her life. I learned more about her in that one evening than the rest of my life, combined. Not just things about those experiences, but things about her heart. Things about her character. Her strength.

My mom is missed. Not just by my family and me. But even by people who never met her. I don’t understand why things work out the way and in the time they do. But things go the way they go.

Today is a bittersweet day. I’m filled with love and special memories. But I miss her voice. I miss her accidental humor. She couldn’t tell a joke to save her life. But she had an unintentional goofiness to her that was so endearing. She was good at laughing at herself. She had tremendous grace. She was long-suffering. She was patient. She had the gift of empathy. She could feel the pain others endured. She had a way of connecting with people.

Mom, I love you. I think of you every day. Thank you for the love you gave me. Thank you for teaching me how to love properly. Thank you for the things you taught me even when I didn’t realize I was learning. Thank you for the cartoons you drew on my lunch bags in elementary school. Thank you for being my biggest fan, even when I came up short. Thank you for taking interest in the things I loved, even when you didn’t know anything about them.

You are still one of God’s greatest gifts to my life.