This is my very first Mother’s Day without my mother. She wasn’t a single mother, but she was an amazing mother. I often find myself comparing to her and usually falling short. She was a bit of a superwoman.
She stayed at home when we were young, but as we got a little older, she went to work full time. She would put in her 8 hours at a low paying, thankless job, then come home to a non-paying, thankless job. Yet, she didn’t complain. Rarely did I hear her utter a word when my dad bought her nothing for Mother’s Day. She was content, seemingly thrilled, with the small token my brother and I bought her, or the crushed and crinkled art project we proudly made and brought to her from school.
I have learned many lessons from my mother, but the one I am still learning on a daily basis, and even more so as I reflect on her life as a mother, is that of selflessness.
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”Phillipians 2:1-4
My mother did nothing for herself. Anything she did was for the betterment of others. She did it for me, my brother, the children in my school or on the softball team. She gave tirelessly and willingly and joyfully.
Don’t get me wrong – she was not a mild or meek person. Quite the opposite. My mother was strong and intelligent and at times a bit cantankerous. You did not want to cross her when she was defending someone.
Still, my mother did not wear beautiful clothes, she did not get her nails done (although, seriously, she had THE BEST nails of anyone I have ever witnessed), she did not go to expensive salons…she was content to allow her children some niceties, even if it meant she went without. She did not ask for thanks, and sadly, as with most mothers, she rarely received any. Her joy came though planting the seeds of wisdom and courage and strength in her children, nurturing them, watching them grow, tending to them, and finally seeing the fruits of her labor as we became adults.
Last Mother’s Day was my last with her. I wish I had known. I wish I had written for her a long and heartfelt letter of gratitude and love for her selfless giving. I wish I had showered her with flowers and gifts. For my mother was the one person I could count on, could trust, in this world.
Not once did I doubt her love, not once did I doubt she would discipline me when I was astray, not once did I doubt she would encourage me in my endeavors, not once did I doubt she would celebrate with me over my accomplishments, and not once did I doubt she would be there to catch me when I fell.
I miss her. As a single mother, I may not be able to do all of the things she did for me. But, I can have the same attitude. I can look not to my own interests, but to the needs of my son and my household. I can do this without complaining (I do complain), I can do this without expectation (I have to admit – I do expect something from my son on Mother’s Day), and I can do this with nothing but joy (as opposed to the grudging attitude I sometimes have).
As single parents, we may sometimes get caught up in the difficulties of our lives. However, if we approach our lives as a chance to show the love of Jesus – His humility and His sacrifice – then the difficulties can become opportunities. My mom had a difficult life, but she always used those obstacles as opportunities.
I pray that the Lord lets my mother know how very loved and how very special she was. And I pray I can be half of the person she was… I love you, Mom.