Let me tell you about my Mother. She would say, “Oh, there’s nothing about me anyone would want to read about.” She doesn’t know how special she is.
But she is so wrong. You see, there is so much you need to know about this woman! That she lived her life humbly, kindly, with generosity and sacrifice, in spite of the fact that life was not always kind back and that she did not always receive the kind of love which she gave. A woman of high integrity, always holding firmly to what she felt was the right thing.
There are many things I probably do not even know about her life growing up, maybe some things she does not want us to know, and I realize that my time for hearing her stories is getting shorter. At 86 years of age, these days now are precious.
Her beginnings were meager, her family poor, and her life simple. There is an old black and white photograph of her as a small child, standing in front of a very tiny, little cabin.
Of course, she learned important home crafting skills that were so much a part of life then. Taking the flour sacks and bleaching them until they were white as snow, embroidering them with lovely, intricate patterns, finished edges of lace or crochet. Tucking each precious piece of handiwork away, as she dreamed of a future home in which to use them, and of the family she hoped to have one day.
My Mama was the hardest working woman I ever knew. As I have mentioned before, she knew how to provide for her family, even when money was scarce. She worked all day at home, from early morning til after we went to bed. On occasion, she would work at a local produce processing warehouse, or would pick fruit in the orchard for extra income. An excellent seamstress, she would tailor custom clothing and do alterations. She even once sewed all the cheerleader uniforms for our school district.
But before beginning her tasks in the morning, she would get up around 4 am, sit in the quiet house and enjoy her morning coffee. In fact, at 86 years of age now, she still does this. I’ve often wished I was a morning person, as I would have liked that special time in the morning. But my body clock didn’t seem to be programmed for that!
Her mothering instincts began early, as she would fashion a baby doll out of just about anything.
I am the youngest of her 8 children. When I was a young teenager, she fulfilled her life long desire to give a home to children in need. She and my step-dad became foster parents.
I’ll never forget the day the first foster child arrived. I walked in the front door after school, when she sneakily told me to go do something in my bedroom.
When I entered the room, there lying in my bed all snuggled up, was the prettiest little Mexican baby girl, with thick, black, curly hair, long eyelashes, and full, chubby cheeks. Just beautiful! I asked my Mom, “Do we get to keep her?!”
From that day, hundreds of children have come through her home, and have called her ‘Mom’. She loved them when their own family couldn’t… or wouldn’t. She gave them the stability they never knew in their own little world. She listened when they needed to talk, helped them find joy and happiness in just being little kids, gave them a mother’s nurturing and comfort when they needed a Band-aid, and shed tears when it was time for them to leave.
I’ve seen her laugh with them, and I once saw her run after a misbehaving little boy who couldn’t believe that ‘old lady’ could catch him!
It wasn’t always easy sharing my Mom with so many, but I knew this was her heart. I feel proud that some of them still adoringly and sincerely call her Mom. That she is so special, that she has imprinted on their heart in that unique space reserved only for our Mothers.
She is a wonderful example of a mother to me! If my children love me the way I love her, I will be truly blessed.
“Her children arise and call her blessed” Proverbs 31:28
(Photo credits- Robin Abrams, Gwen Lawson)