Sunday, May 10, 2015

Because She's Everything

This post has been swirling around in my head for years - since the beginning of my blogging days, if I’m being honest.  I’ve just never been able to find the words.  Even now, I’m certain that they will fail me.

On this day, we honor our mothers.  We send cards and flowers and make phone calls, but we cannot possibly come close to showering them with the praise and gratitude they deserve. 

As a mother myself, I now have a better understanding of everything my mom sacrificed for me and my siblings.  She gave up her career to stay home with us.  She turned a blind eye to fashion trends so that we could wear head-to-toe matching ensembles.  She changed diapers and lost sleep.  She served on the PTO and taught Sunday School.  She was at every school party and school play.  She went on every school field trip and was the classroom mom.  She hauled us to football practice, FFA events, and all over the state for pageants.

Even when money was tight, she made sure I had gift cards to restaurants and grocery stores during my college years.  She bought bedding for my first home as a surprise wedding gift rather than updating her own master suite.

My mother has not only been a rock for her children, she has also stood unshakable through the adversities of the past seven years as my parents lost their home and their business.  She never waivered when my Dad nearly lost his life in an accident and underwent a year’s worth of medical treatment.

She forgave the cold betrayal of some who were thought to friends, and once again picked up the pieces of shattered dreams as she and my dad continue to put one front in front of the other and navigate through the ramifications of that situation.

My mother deserves to be honored for all of those things.  She is my hero.  She is my role model.  She is the kind of mother I strive to be each and every day.  But more than anything else, she deserves to honored for enduring each and every “last.”

Long ago you came to me, a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps, a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts…
The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying, needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket, wanting to be rocked.
The last time when you ran to me, still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten, those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.
I never said good-bye to all your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow will I recognize your lasts?
The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you and tuck you in at night.
The last time when we cuddle with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson, last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss today’s sweet, precious lasts…
The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes, your room is still a mess.
The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-want to recognize your lasts…
The last time that you need my help with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.
I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time, I’d hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last good-bye, one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

My mother knew that her heart would never be the same when she encouraged me to chase my dreams.  She gave me the greatest gift of all when she let me go and find my own way.  She never let her love stunt my growth.  Instead, she gave me wings to fly. She celebrated all the “firsts” and endured all the “lasts.”

Thank you, Mom, for letting your love give me roots and for helping me find my wings.  Your legacy lives on me and will be passed on to my children.  You unknowingly influenced future generations and your mark will be forever etched in the hearts of our family.  You continue to bless me, and inspire me, and teach me.  I am who I am today because of you.  I know that I’m past by word quota, and I’ve already shared one sappy poem, but since words are escaping me, I’ll quote the wonderful Bette Midler, “ it must have been cold there in my shadow, to never have sunlight on your face.  But you were content to let me shine, that’s your way.  You always walked a step behind.  So I was the one with all the glory, and you were the one with all the strength.  It might have appeared to go unnoticed, but I hold it here in my heart.  I know the truth, of course, I know it.  I would be nothing without you.  Did you even know that you’re my hero?  You’re everything that I wish I could be.  I could fly higher than eagle.  Because you are the wind beneath my wings.”

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