Friday, May 10, 2013

A Mother's Day tribute

I grew up in a family of women.  It's no surprise that I consider myself to be strong and have a leading role in my family as these were my role models.  I never questioned what I could do or be as I saw my mom and nana always doing all that they could and all that needed to be done.  In addition to their everyday jobs, they were the mechanics when something broke, the cooks who gathered the family together around the table, and always the encouragers, telling me I could be anything I wanted to be.  I saw them sacrifice of themselves time and time again so that they could give me advantages.  My mom always cared more for me than she cared for herself.  As a mother, I know what a tenuous thing it is to have your identity wrapped up in is sacred and beautiful, and also so very isolating and challenging.  She embraced it and never complained.  It's only now that I understand what a gift that is, and want to know more of who she is as an individual, apart from being my mother and friend.

I have chosen a vocation that is somewhat atypical as Baptists don't fully embrace women in ministry.  It is a testament to the strength and faith of my family that I didn't even know it was an issue until I entered seminary and heard flack from my home church.  But I have never been so touched and so aware of the ferocity of my mother and grandmother's love until I understood that they were fighting for me and my dreams, standing up on my behalf.  It's not a surprise as they always did that, but it is marked forever in my mind as confirmation of this tribe I come from, that we are forever connected by blood and by love.  No one makes it alone...we are carried on the arms of the community that loves and supports us, and I have been so blessed in the gift of my family.

I went to a "Muffins with Mom" event this morning at my son's school, and I thought of how many similar events my mom had proudly sat through.  In spite of working multiple jobs, she was always there for me.  I hope she knows how proud I was to always have her there.  Being on the other side as a mother, I get how much it means to see the little ones you've invested yourself in shine in their own space.  I have a new-found appreciation for the handprint gifts and snot-nosed angel pictures she has cherished to this day.

I have received so much from the women in my love of learning and reading, my need to clean and organize, and my calling to love and nurture my own family, encouraging their gifts and always being present.  Thanks to their support, I have also been able to find work I love that fulfills me and allows me to show my children that they can use their own passions to enrich the world.  I was impressed that in his Mother's Day gift to me, Brady wrote about knowing that I'm smart because I work as a chaplain.  I didn't realize he understood that part of my life, apart from him, but I'm happy that he is proud of that as well.  My family continues to encourage me with their pride.  

One thing I apparently didn't get from my family is cooking skills.  When Brady's worksheet asked what his mom liked to cook, he crossed out the question and wrote, "She doesn't cook."  

Which reminds me of how grateful I am for the man in my life that takes care of so many things (including meals) so that I can live out my calling.  I'll have to trust in him and the other women in our lives to ensure that our kids have the same warm memories I do of sharing together around the table.

My great-grandmother, Susie 

My nana, Nadine

Nana with John's grandparents, Alma and Alfred

Mom helping me with my wedding dress

My mom, Linda

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