Today I celebrated my 23rd Mother’s Day as a mother… and my 23rd Mother’s Day without mine. It still makes me sad that we never celebrated a Mother’s Day together as mothers. That’s not to say that she didn’t do her best to instill in me the best of herself while she was here and while I have missed my Mom more than I can say, in so many ways, I feel my Mother’s presence all the time.
If I have been thoughtful, generous, or kind in my life, I would give my Mother the credit for showing me the way. She molded me into the person I have become: A woman who would do almost anything for her children, her friends or strangers in need; a woman with a conscience, who does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do; a woman who gave away a pie every day for a year because she was grateful to have been so loved and so blessed in her own life. Each day, I live my life with as much grace and love as I can muster, because to do so honors my Mother.
Recently, my friend Ann Marie told me about a woman named Helen who has been like a Mother to her for more than twenty years. Helen Smith was born in Peru, Nebraska and grew up in her family home that also served as a boarding house. Since Peru is a college town there is some speculation that there were some pretty smart boarders in the house and that perhaps they inspired Helen’s lifelong love of learning. In her later years, Helen became known as Grandma Helen, and spent many hours volunteering in the classroom of one of her other “adopted” daughters.
A week or so ago, Helen celebrated her 100th birthday. This event was commemorated with a bench that was placed in Lithia Park in her honor. This was a lovely tribute but I have a feeling that Helen is honored many times each day. Every time one of the students she helped succeeds, or reaches out to help someone else, or inspires someone to learn, Helen is honored. And I think that is the very best tribute of all.
This morning I baked a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (the first of the year!) for Helen. I want to thank her for sharing her heart with so many.
And lastly, this, from Erma Bombeck:
When God Created Mothers
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said. “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And God said, “Have you read the specs on this order?” She has to be completely washable, but not plastic. Have 180 moveable parts…all replaceable. Run on black coffee and leftovers. Have a lap that disappears when she stands up. A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair. And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said. “Six pairs of hands…. no way.”
It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” God remarked, “it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. God nodded.
One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say. ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
God,” said the angel touching his sleeve gently, “Get some rest tomorrow….”
I can’t,” said God, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick…can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger…and can get a nine-year old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.
But tough!” said God excitedly. “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
Can it think?”
Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.
There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model.”
It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”
What’s it for?”
It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
You are a genius, ” said the angel.
Somberly, God said, “I didn’t put it there.”