This Mother’s Day will mark the second year of not having my own mom around to celebrate on Mother’s Day. Of course, this makes me sad and very nostalgic as I think of her and all of her mothering ways and the things that I miss not having her around in my day to day life. However, I’m looking forward to spending a little time with my big, sometimes smelly, often sweet, but always fun, three sons.
I was reminded today of all of the wonderful mothers and motherly figures and women I have been surrounded by that have truly inspired me up until this point in my life. I have learned something different from each of these women who have touched me. I think of them and appreciate that inspiration more and more.
In my grandmother, whom we called Bigmama, Lord knows why, I saw such an example of hard work. This lady did not shy away from rolling up her shirtsleeves and getting the job done. She was not lazy. I think I also got some of my frugal tendencies from her. I knew her to gather the little bits left from bars of soap and melt them all together in a pot to form a bar of soap. Throwing away that little bit of soap was unheard of! She was also so smart with how she handled her home. She knew where everything was, all was organized and everything managed to a tee. She also had some “get up and go”. When I would come home for vacations or during the summers I would always go to our local track to run. More often than not, who would I see out there walking her laps? My Bigmama. And I marveled that every time she crossed the starting point she would pick up a little pebble to keep track of her laps! I just loved that!
In my own mother I saw what it meant to be steadfast and steady. This was not a woman of drama. Everything was handled stoically and with absolutely no hysterics, regardless of how traumatic an event blew up in her life. She also always put family above all else. I learned this the hard way in my teen years. I often hated being forced to attend family dinners, family weekends, forced family outings, fishing and hunting trips to be together with my family when I would much rather had been hanging out with my friends. Of course, I see it now and appreciate her sticking to her guns on that. She was also loyal to a fault to those in her life. One of her favorite sayings was that you loved someone in spite of, not because of. Once you had that heart of hers she wouldn’t let it go.
My aunt, whom I’m named after, is also a force and an inspiration. She is the perfect entertainer, full of grace and Southern hospitality. She makes entertaining look like it’s as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Whipping up a gourmet meal for a host of folks is second nature to her. She also has that great, generous spirit, full of fun and adventure. I love seeing her zest for life!
When my brother married his wife, I gained not a sister-in-law, but a sister. I had always wanted a sister and this was God’s answer to that forever prayer. We are very different but alike in many ways. I am inspired by my sister-in-law’s faith. I have watched her lean on her faith and grow that faith because nothing else really mattered. It is a humbling example and another huge source of inspiration.
All my girlfriends, from high school, college and adulthood inspire me with their clear and present friendship. These are all women that I might not speak to for a few days, weeks, some months and even years, but lo and behold, there is simply no distance or space when we connect. These women remind me how to have fun, how much fun life is, how odd life works at times, and that, often you absolutely need your friends. Friendship is a beautiful thing.
I think, most of all, I am awed by each and every one of these women and the strength that they show. All in different ways – some quiet, some loud, some behind the scenes and some bursting out like a bull. But all of these women, all mothers in their own right, have been placed in my life for a reason and I am so thankful.
Happy Mother’s Day!