I’ve been without my mom for a long time now. In fact, I’ve been without her almost four times as many years as I was with her, which is always a sobering thought. The years have slipped away so quickly, and with each year that passes the memories I have of her grow a little more thin and worn and distant.
I was only 11 when she passed away after a long and difficult battle with cancer. And though of course I felt the loss and recognized its significance at the time, I think I’ve come to realize and to understand the depth of the loss in only greater ways in all the years since.
It’s been nearly three decades since I had a conversation with my mom, but I think sometimes about the things I would want to say to her if we had an afternoon, (or preferably days and days,) to catch up. I would give her all the family news, of course — tell her about my husband and each of the kids and all that has transpired in our lives over the years, good and bad — but then, after all the heavier subjects had been covered, I would have a few things just to say thank you for.
In honor of Mother’s Day, let me share…
Thank you so much, Mom, for leaving me a heritage of devout Christian faith. I not only heard you profess faith in Christ, but watched you live it out from day to day, even through some extremely difficult circumstances. That meant, too, that you left behind a good testimony elsewhere as well. To this day I still meet up with people who say things to me like, “If I’ve ever known anyone who was a true Christian, surely it was your mother!”
Thank you for allowing me to witness you in times of prayer and in daily Bible reading. It taught me the importance of personal devotion to Christ.
Thank you for cooking my meals, washing my clothes, cleaning up my messes, wiping my snotty nose, and all the other mom-things you did that I didn’t appreciate back then.
Thank you for cooking real meals, (even at times when I realize now you were really too sick to do so,) and insisting we eat together as a family. Not many people do that anymore, but you made that the norm for us, and so I have desired it to be the norm in my home as well.
Thank you for making me work in the garden. It taught me the value of hard work and showed me that diligence and commitment can yield beautiful things. (And it also gave me a special, nostalgic kind of love for the smell of freshly turned dirt!)
Thank you for canning and preserving foods. I hated when the whole house smelled like tomatoes or dill pickles, but it taught me not to be wasteful and eventually it grew into an interest that drives me to fill freezer and cabinets every year with fresh-picked goodies.
Thank you for making me return a ping-pong ball to its rightful owners and then apologize for stealing it. It taught me the importance of honestly, even in the smallest of matters.
Thank you for tucking me in every night. I grew up thinking every parent prayed with their kids, pulled up the covers, and kissed them on the cheek before they turned out the light. I can’t imagine not doing the same with my kids.
Thank you for teaching me Psalm 56:3. I’ve quoted it to my children dozens of time when they’ve had bad dreams.
Thank you for not taking up for me that time I got in trouble with my Sunday school teacher. Yes, she probably overreacted just a little, but it taught me there would be consequences for my decisions, and that I didn’t deserve special treatment just because I was the Sunday school superintendent’s daughter. Who my daddy was didn’t make me any better than the “bus kids” or anybody else, and I needed to be reminded of that.
That would only scratch the surface of all the things I would need to say thank you for, but at least it would be a start!
My only question for you would be, have YOU said thank you to your mom? If not, today might be the perfect day to make a little phone call…
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