Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Little Moments with Mother



Mother's Day 2009

I am heading to the hospital today to join family at the bedside of my mother. She has been in ICU on life support since Saturday night, and doctors have informed us that it is probably time to say goodbye. Holding her hand Saturday night, I was struck with the thought that it is so difficult to let go of the first hand you ever held. Yet even in this most difficult moment, I thank God that He blessed our family with her presence for so long. Below is an article I wrote several years ago for Ideals Magazine. It was such a surprise to Mother to discover its publication, and she told me often how much it meant to her. Today we rise up and call her blessed. 


Little Moments with Mother

Many of my most special memories of childhood involve times spent with my mother. Mother stayed home with my sister, brother and me, and our home was her life. As a child, it never would have occurred to me to doubt Mother’s happiness or question her fulfillment in her role as Mommy. Her devotion to us was so complete, I really don’t think it would have occurred to her either.


The big events of family life – holidays, vacations and birthdays – are documented in volumes of photo albums Mother carefully organized, but many of my fondest memories of growing up are found in the snapshots of daily life that fill my mind.

Church was the central focus of family life, and I still remember the preparations Mother made to ready the family for worship on Sunday. She often rolled my hair on Saturday night. We would watch Little House on the Prairie or talk about “girl stuff” as she brushed each section of hair and twisted it into a curler. This was a small ritual, of course, but when I longed to have a daughter of my own, one of the first images that would come to my mind was snuggling up on my bed to roll her hair in pink sponge curlers.

Even the most mundane tasks of daily living seem more significant in retrospect. I remember one particular bath time when my 5-year-old heart was unburdened. Guilt overwhelmed me as I cried, admitting that I had been paddled in kindergarten that day for talking during nap time. Always a worrier, I was certain my once spotless record of conduct was ruined forever. Mother assured me that all was not lost. As she bathed me that night, she tenderly washed the scarlet letter of shame away. She reminded me that each new day provided an opportunity to begin anew, and I emerged from that bath feeling clean and hopeful again.

These little moments of care taking that filled Mother’s day showed me that I was not just taken care of, but also cared for. Because of her love, my teeth were brushed, my hair was combed, and I had vitamins to take.

Mother made me feel special in myriad ways. I looked forward to the end of each school day, knowing Mother would have ready a cup of hot chocolate in my favorite Raggedy Ann mug. I would tell her about the ups and downs of life in elementary school as I sipped the rich, warm cocoa, savoring the marshmallows she had sprinkled on top.

On days she was called to pick me up early because of illness, I would arrive home to find the covers already turned back on my bed and a favorite gown spread out on the pillow. While I snuggled cozily under the covers, Mother would make Welsh rarebit, a cheesy white sauce she would pour over soda crackers. Although its appeal is lost on our spouses today, my sister, brother and I still think of Welsh rarebit as the ultimate comfort food.

Mother showed me in moments like these that I was valuable. Although she often told me she loved me, her acts of nurturing spoke more eloquently than her words. Each time she rubbed my hand during church, hugged me when I came home from school, or kissed me goodnight, she left a lasting impression on my heart.

Many of my happiest moments were times when Mother paused to have fun with me. Once she draped a sheet over the kitchen table and we crawled underneath. What a magical time this was for a 4-year-old, drinking invisible tea with Mommy in our secret castle!

We also spent time together cooking. I still have the preschool cookbook with our recipe for peanut butter balls. In our earliest days of making the cookies, I dutifully rolled the gooey dough into balls as suggested. As my baking confidence grew, we progressed to pressing a Hershey’s Kiss into each ball or imprinting the cookies with a fork. Years later, I was shaping the cookies into letters, teddy bears and holiday designs.

Little moments of playfulness helped me understand that Mother not only loved me, but she liked me too. I felt special knowing that out of all the people in the world, I was one of her favorites.

Now that I’m a mother myself, memories remind me of the importance of day-to-day activities in filling our home with love. Each time I run the children’s bath water, snuggle up with one who is feeling sick, or call them all to the kitchen to make our favorite peanut butter pie recipe, I am reminded that these little moments will add up to a lifetime of love. Pieced together, little moments with Mother work together like a patchwork quilt to keep us feeling secure, knowing we will always be wrapped in our mother’s love.

77 comments:

Sharon Ward said...

Melissa I'm sorry to hear about your Mother. She did a magnificent job of raising you three. That was a wonderful blog and a great tribute to your Mother. I just wish all of us Mothers could have done half the job your Mother did, and I'm sure you are duplicating her great lessons of life.

Sharon Ward

Sue said...

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. You have spoken so highly of her throughout your blog, your love for her is evident and she will leave behind many wonderful memories I am sure. You have been very blessed to have such a mom. May the peace of God surround all of you at this time.

Kristi said...

Melissa, we have been praying for your comfort, as well as your family during the past week. Kate and I said a special prayer this morning when we heard that more difficult days are fast approaching. This post is beautiful and makes me appreciate my Mother more. Praying for God's deepest blessings on you guys!

Mommy2Twins said...

Melissa, I am so sorry for your heavy heart today. She is a very special lady, I remember meeting her and feeling like I was the only person in the room. Your article made me cry for I'm remembering all the special memories my Mom and I have. Of course I have passed some of them to my daughter. But some I keep locked in my heart cause I'm to selfish to share. We are praying for your family today.

Leah in Iowa said...

What a beautiful, living tribute to your Mother. Good that she was able to read it herself, and know that she was one of YOUR favorites. Praying for your family this week.

Christina said...

I'm sorry to hear about your mother.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope you'll find comfort and strength in them.
By writing this article, even though it was written a couple of years ago, your memories will stay alive.

Gr. Christina

Homeschool Dawn said...

Those are the words that every mother wants to hear from her child. You have honored her well, and she is blessed.
You and your family are in my prayers during this difficult time. May God grant you all extra measures of grace.

Leisa said...

Melissa, you and your family are in my prayers. I have a wonderful christian mom as well. Great memories will sustain us through life. Much love and appreciation, Leisa

Jan M said...

My heart aches for you today. May God's grace and our prayers sustain you today and in the days to come. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give to those who loved us first and unconditionally is to let them go. It is the hardest thing to do, though.

Rach said...

Many thoughts and prayers go out to you during this sad time. I smiled as I read all the nice memories you have of your mother.

Judy said...

Melissa, I am so sorry for the situation with your mom. When I read my daughter's thoughts (above) about "our" times together and now those she shares with her daughter, I couldn't help but cry reading her words and thoughts on times she remembers us sharing.

While your mom may pass from this world, her presence will forever live in you heart. No one ever holds a more precious place than our moms. I never take it for granted every day I have with my 90 year old mother.

God bless you Melissa,
Judy

Jo said...

Melissa,
As my thoughts flood over me,of losing my own Mother in 1983 to cancer I am praying for you,and your family for GOD to wrap is arms around you all and draw you in real close at one of most difficult times in your lives.
GOD bless and keep you all!
~Jo
~LazyonLoblolly

sweeter and the bubbas said...

I love you! I'm glad you have this picture of you and your mother.

Lisa said...

Melissa,

Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Your article is beautiful; what precious memories you will always have to treasure.

Love & Prayers,
Lisa

Brenda said...

So sorry to hear about your mom. Thanks for sharing those thoughts on your mom. brings back so many wonderful memories of my own childhood and the memories i am making with my own kids.

Sonja said...

Some things are beyond words. Please know I am praying for you. Oh what a gift it is to know that we have a future and a hope, as does your precious mother, and as I recently said when our mother went to heaven... the crowd up there is growing.

Praying for your family.

Ainy said...

I am praying for you and your family.

Shannon Miller said...

Melissa - I am so sorry about your mother. You're in my prayers.

margie said...

Melissa, Please know that you and your family are in our prayers. I know it is a difficult time for those who linger yet in this world. Your mom has lived her entire life preparing for this time. What a blessing it is to have had a Christian mother. May God give you all strength and comfort as you face the coming days. We love you, Margie

Jan's Blog said...

I'm so sorry to hear your sad news. I can see that your mother has been a powerful blessing in your life and is a blessing to be thankful for indeed. My prayers are with you and your family.

Ms. Elaine said...

Sorry to hear about your mother. I know this will be a very difficult time for you. You are in my prayers.

Melanie said...

Oh Melissa~

My heart breaks for you my sweet friend. I am so sorry. I will keep you, your family and your mom in my prayers as she makes the blessed journey Home.

I am sending you all my love!!

Melanie

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

I have just asked God to give you the comfort only He can, and to hold you and your family close to His side. What a wonderful mother you describe. What a wonderful legacy she seems to have passed on to you. My heart aches for you, but praise God for the great and beautiful place He has prepared for her to wait for your greatest reunion!
Love,
Michelle in San Antonio

Lori said...

God Bless!

Christy said...

Melissa- I have been noticing that you have not posted anything new lately and when I saw that you had something new posted, I got excited, then, I read what you had written and my heart has been aching for you. You just recently had put up the post about your mother coming and you posted pictures of the lovely table and cupcakes and the necklace that you bought her. I am so sorry for you and your family and the situation that you all find yourself in now. I will keep you in my prayers and know that God will give you the strength to get through this!

Susan said...

Dear Melissa...I am so sorry about your Mom. She looks so young! My prayers are with you and your family at this sad time. Susan

Regina said...

Melissa, my heart hurts for you and your family. I have never met your mother but I know what an amazing woman and mother she is simply from knowing you. I'm praying that God will comfort you and your family during this difficult time.

Love, Regina

Carol said...

Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. What a lovely, loving tribute.

Sandy at Teacup Lane said...

I'm so sorry Melissa to hear about your Mother. Your Mother raised a wonderful daughter in you. I lost my Mother in 1991 (I was 44 and she was a young 66) and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and miss her. Your picture of the two of you says it all - see you can the love between both of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Laura said...

Melissa, I am just sobbing right now. I am praying so much for you and your family. May God wrap His arms of love and hope around you.

The Hart Family said...

Melissa, I am so sorry. You and your family will be in my prayers. I know how hard it is to say goodbye to a woman you admire and love so much. When I said goodbye to my mom 12 years ago she gave me the greatest words of wisdom that has strengthened me each and every day and it was simply "remember whose hands to put it in". What a sweet reunion we will both have with our mothers in eternity! May God comfort your family during this difficult time!

jmac said...

Loving strength being sent your way thru my prayers. Such a hard thing to do.. I've sat with both of my parents as they entered into God's arms. Do know this tho...being in the same room with a dying loved one is the holiest room in the world. You will never be as close to an angel in your lifetime, on earth, as when the angel enters the room to take them away. Think about it.
Bless you and your family.

Red said...

Melissa...I feel horrible. I just wrote you a card, snail mail, that went out today and in it I talked about hoping that you had enjoyed your visit with your mom, that you were looking forward to so you could get a hug. If I had known that she was in the hospital again, and that you guys were called in to say goodbyes, I would have never written it. It was meant to be a happy thing...you were soo looking forward to that get together...even tho its been awhile ago now. I am soooooo sorry. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.
Btw, do you have a Brian, in MO, as a relative? My landlord's last name is Lester...and it never registered until I addressed your card.

Katy said...

Her testament in life is one of love and giving, you have learned well from your mother and are a great example of motherhood. God Bless you and your mom at this time, cherishing the memories will soothe your aching heart. I'm so very sorry. ~Katy

Pat said...

My heart breaks for you as you face yet another difficulty. I will be praying that God will give you strengh for this journey and a peace that passeth all understanding.

Pat said...

Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you, and your family at this time. May God bring you comfort.
Hugs,
Pat

Anonymous said...

I will keep you and your family in my prayers. God Bless.

Ariadone said...

Dear friend Melissa, Nothing will ever be the same again ..saying goodbye to your mother makes you will never look at life in the same light ever again.
I am praying for you, your mother and all those around you..I am convinced she will be welcomed where she is going now.
Lieve groeten
Godeliva van Ariadone

Anonymous said...

Dear Melissa, what a beautiful tribute! It´s nice to know that your mother has read all of these words.. I´ve been reading your blog because of your warmth as a mother inspires, me, a mother of a 2 year old. And as I read the tribute, I realised that that´s te kind of chilhood that I want for my daughter, too.. I pray for your mother and all people close to her.. Lots of love from Belgium!
Mariel

The sewing room said...

Sending you and your family hugs at this difficult time and keeping you in my prayer. You will find the strentgh to carry on ,you are a mother.


Hugs Pat

craftmom said...

My heart goes out to you and your family during this trying time. Sadly, my mom has passed away from multiple myeloma too. My mom used to tell me everyday is a gift from God, and after she passed away I told myself that everyday.Now I look back and remember all the memories that we made for the 27 years that my mom and I shared together, and I try to impart those on my 5 year old daughter. Your family was truly blessed to have such a loving mother. May God bless you and your family and provide you with strength to carry on and the patchwork memory quilt to comfort you. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Stephanie

Julie Owen said...

Oh Melissa,
As soon as I opened the post I nearly burst into tears. I am soooo sorry! I know how much it means for a girl to have her mother. Much love to you and yours during this difficult time.
xoxoxo
Julie Owen

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

You are in our prayers.

Mimi said...

As someone who has been there, my heart breaks for you and your family. Ya'll will be in my prayers daily because the road you are walking is painfully long; and, for a while, even the sweet memories won't be a comfort. But God's healing will come eventually and the memories will then be like a very warm blanket on a cold winter's night.

Rebecca said...

This must be such a hard time. Your mother has created an amazing legacy in you. My prayers are with you and your family right now. Goodbyes are so very hard.

Judy said...

Saw on your FB page that your mother did pass away. My heart goes out to you and your family. May God wrap you in his peace and love.

Hugs,
Judy

Jill said...

God bless you and your family, so sorry.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

I am so very sorry...

Sue said...

What a sweet tribute to your mother. Having said good-bye to my mother 24 years ago I know how difficult this is. My heart goes out to you. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I am so sorry about your mother. What beautiful tribute to her. Now, I see where you learned all of the special things you do to love and nurture your family. This post inspired me to be a better person. Thanks.

Lots of prayers for you and your family. Debbi

Shanna said...

I'm praying for you, Melissa, as you say goodbye - for now - to your lovely mother. My mama went home to be with the Lord 16 years ago. Her birthday was Sept 20 and I thought of her several times that day, thankful that I had a Christian mother who nurtured and guided me.

Remember, this is only a temporary parting...we will see our mothers again and share the beautiful home prepared for us by our Lord!!!

Christina said...

I;m so sorry for your loss....You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.....


gr. Christina

Karen said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I loved reading your beautiful words about your wonderful mother. You are blessed, indeed!

Karen said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. I loved reading your beautiful words about your wonderful mother. You are blessed, indeed!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

Melissa, I feel like I've known you for years and yet only via this invisibly visible world of blogging. My heart hurts for you, my friend, and for your family. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you here in St. Louis today. I pray God continues to give you His peace.

Karin

Patty said...

I am so very sorry..you and your family are in my prayers.

Patty

Cyndi said...

My prayers are with you and your family. What a wonderful testiment to the love and nurturing of a Mother. I am inspired to be a better Mom myself, after reading about your Mother.

Debra "Deb" Dresden Disney-Dior said...

Melissa,

My thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with you, your family and most of all, your Mom. Thank you for sharing lovely memories, with your readers, of times spent with your Mother. I especially loved reading the Saturday night ritual of watching Little House on the Prairie and wrapping strands of hair around pink sponge rollers. Your Mom sounds a lot like Caroline Ingalls. Nurturing, kind, loving -- focusing on family, friends and God. A great Mom with a lot of love to share.

God Bless, Debra

Kristen said...

Melissa, I don't think there is anything more difficult in the world that one could do than saying goodbye to a wonderful mother. I am praying for you, for her comfort and for your families peace.

Julie said...

So very sorry...praying that God will comfort your hearts as only He can. You have been through so much ~ you are a wonderful testimony of grace. Please take care and know that so many are praying for you and your family.

I am Tammy, Welcome to my Farm said...

Soo sorry to hear about your mother. I know this is very hard for you and your family. I am praying for your comfort! Here is a verse that has helped me many times, especially when I lost my second child. It is II Corinthians 1:3-7. May you feel all the prayers that are being prayed!
Tammy

Cindy ~ My Romantic Home said...

Melissa, I am so sorry to hear about your mother! My thoughts are with you and your family!

joelle said...

May the love the the Lord Jesus Christ comfort you during this time..

Shell in your Pocket said...

Melissa-
This is truly dear. My eyes filled up with tears...what special memories. I too, remember similar things with my mom. What a wonderful reminder-

sandy toe

MamaBug said...

I am so very sorry to read about your mother. Sending many prayers to you and your family during this difficult time. Your essay was beautiful and reminds me that it is the everyday love we give that will be remembered

Heidi said...

Melissa,

I am so sorry. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Mommy2CVC said...

I am so sorry for your loss! My prayers are with you and your family!

Emmy said...

I am so sorry to hear of your mom. I know the love and closeness that can only come from a mom. I will be praying for you in the days to come.
Emmy Hunt

Kristi said...

You are in my heart and my prayers during this difficult time. My Mother sounds so much like your precious Mother. She was a stay at home mother to my brother and I, and put God first in everything she did. I remember the pink sponge rollers and welcoming arms as I arrived home from school. My Mother is 57 and has metastatic breast cancer, which returned after having been gone for 12 years. It is so hard to see her fight the battle of her life right now. I feel she has so much life to live, but I also know God has a greater plan for her someday. She is a faithful member of the Church of Christ and has been all of her life. We are comforted knowing your blessed Mother is reaping the rewards of her good works and faithfulness to God all of her life. I can only imagine how you feel right now. My heart is hurting with you also. Thank you for your blog and your sincere devotion to the word of God. I have been blessed to have gotten to know through you blog.

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

I'm so sorry to read this. I know how hard it is to see your mother slip away -- it has been almost 8 years since my own mother passed away and I still miss her -- I'm sure I always will, but the wonderful memories give us many blessings. Praying for your comfort and peace.

Wendy said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. May you feel the loving arms of our God wrapped around you during this difficult time.

Graciously Southern said...

Melissa, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I can't imagine how difficult this must be but I am encouraged that your strong faith will carry you through. I hope the wonderful memories you share with your amazing mother bring you peace and comfort at this time.

gracioushomeliving said...

Hello, Melissa.

I really can't remember if I left you a comment regarding your mother's passing, but if I didn't, please accept my condolences. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

In addition, I wanted you to know that I linked your blog to mine. I have been participating in a blog party this week that is about making our homes a haven. You immediately came to mind. Take care of yourself!!!

Valerie

Allene said...

May God's love make your grief bearable.

You are in my thoughts and prayers although we have never met.

Ever in His Presence,
Allene

Pat said...

Just wanted to let you know that I am still praying as you go through this season of your life.

Anonymous said...

Reading this made me all choked up. You are a great writer, wonderful daughter, wife and mother. Your blog is very inspiring. Your mother is smiling in heaven and looking down so very proud of the children she raised. May you continue to be an inspiration to all of us with your words and wonderful ideas!

muebles madrid en stok said...

Thank you for your article, pretty worthwhile material.

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