My son, Elliot, asked me this morning how it feels to be called Mom. That question pierced my heart as I looked into his blue eyes and answered him. I love his teenage sensibility and questions that go deep. I love the way he puts his arms around me and gives me a kiss on the cheek. (Photo above: me and Mom on my wedding day 1991. I still remember that kiss!)

The past few days my thoughts seem to be turning toward the memory of my Mom, Millie. I think about her almost daily.

Mom, as I called her, had such a gentle spirit. On her birthday every year, friends came out of the woodwork, as she would get a slew of cards in the mail and come home from work with a trunk-load of gifts.

I always tell my daughter and her friends: Friends are like a bouquet of flowers. The more you have, the more beautiful your life will be. That is the life my Mom lived.

Even though Mom was very serious at times, deep down inside she had a great sense of humor and loved to be teased.

My earliest memories of her are that she was always there. (Photo to left: my family in1969, I am the youngest.) I especially noticed when I would come home from school in the afternoon. The house was rarely empty. She fixed us breakfast in the morning (we use to tease her about her coffee breath), and sent us girls out to get on the school bus. (Mom would wrap her beehive hair-do with toilet paper each night to protect it from getting messed up. It looked the same for about a week!)

She loved life: God, Dad, her family, her garden and friends, children, her church and showing hospitality. (Photo to right: Dad and Mom early 90s.)

It is from this woman that I got my talent for cooking, canning, freezing and how to put a meal on the table. She had such a way of timing her dinners just right, where all the dishes would be placed on the table at the same time. She’d throw a roast in the oven on a Sunday morning and invite people over after church. 

The meal did not have to be perfect, and what really mattered to Mom was to have not only the popular people over, but also sometimes the people who didn’t have a place to go.
That was a true lesson of hospitality for her 3 daughters. Mom showed us how to play hostess!

She cared. She cared deeply about people and she prayed for them. She was one of those people who could enter a room and never make a sound, but when she left the room, her absence was noticeable. She really was the catalyst in our family. (Photo below: Dad’s birthday January 1997, the year Mom passed away.)

Mom was special, but she was not perfect. I know that underneath her quiet calmness there were feelings in her heart that she didn’t share with people. She was very private. And in her last couple of years of life when cancer was calling her name, she made it very clear to God and her family that she did not want to leave this world. She was torn. She loved so deeply, that it was a very confusing time for her.

Mom’s impact lives on in my life. I want to think that if she were here today she would be such a good friend. I always tell my kids “if Grandma were here, she would be so crazy about you!” (Photo to left: me and Mom at one of my bridal showers 1991.)

Mom was a planter of Godly seeds, but she died before she saw the complete harvest. The desire was always in my heart to make her proud of me. I believe she would have been. Without a lot of fanfare, she taught me how to care about my family first of all, to believe that Mothering was the most important role I’d ever have, a real life’s calling. She never told me these words; she just lived it in a way that revealed the truth about it.

Mom would be overjoyed today to know that her daughters love God with a passion. Through her love and teaching of hospitality, we have taken those gifts a step further. And now her grandchildren are cultivating those gifts to pass down to their children. (Photo to right: Millie’s great-grandson, Gavin)

I recently read that, “Grief changes shape, but it never ends.” I believe that. The intensity of my loss has decreased over time, but the loss is still there. I don’t always understand it but I have grown through it. (Above photo: Mom and her only 2 granddaughters, Kayla & Abby, 4 months before she died.)

Thank you Mom, for a life well lived.

Mom went to heaven 10 years ago this year. Several women have been tremendous role models to me the last 10 years, loving me as a daughter and impacting my life. Aunt Ellen, Jeannie, Dee, Faye, Ginny and Hoppi: my family is blessed because of you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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