Monday, May 12, 2014

Past the stone fence

My mom has been dead half of my life. I hardly knew who she was outside of being my mother--this woman who did the motherly things like fix dinners, clean the house, make cookies and jam, tuck notes in my school lunches, tell me when the seasonal TV specials were on, and laugh too loud. I didn't know her as a woman, didn't know the types of struggles she faced or how she overcame them--if she did.

I didn't have a mom when my college love broke my heart. I had friends.

I didn't have a mom to help me plan a wedding. I had amazing sisters-in-law-to-be who took care of every detail.

I didn't have a mom to tell me what to expect with pregnancy and babies and raising kids. I had a lot of books and a fabulous sister who had had three children before I started my own family--and though she was many states away, she was as close as my phone.

I didn't have a mom to turn to for advice. But I had friends and friends with moms who knew what they were doing to help me navigate things where my mom fell short, where I fell short. 

I didn't have a mom to lean on when I experienced the sometimes-struggle. I didn't have to her ask, "Has this happened to you?" There were times when I hid what felt like shame, times when all I wanted was the unconditional love of a mother, those open arms--I have not known that. But I can be that to my own children and to my friends.

I have had precious friends who have walked beside me during deep trials in life--women who encouraged me to hold my head high and reminded me who I am in Christ. Women who loved me when others didn't and showed me that true friendship is worth fighting for and holding close.

A friend loves at all times. 

I have had women love on my children as if they were their own grandchildren, and me like a daughter (or sister). Today I was especially honored when Anita first, and Linda later, drove down my driveway for hugs and gifts.

Erin woke to make me breakfast: Cheerios with a sliced banana on top, because she knows that's how I like it. And a cup of coffee on the side. Gifts from my daughters that were so thoughtfully selected.

A card in the mail from a great friend, which makes me value deeply these love languages we speak. And texts to and from people I treasure.

We packed up an insulated tote full of drinks and snacks and headed out an hour's drive to catch a medieval encampment. It was a delightfully unhurried day, walking around museum grounds, learning about medieval times, and holding Erin close, or Lanie's hand.

a weaving craft, under the shade of a tent and brushed by a cool breeze

a fighter's vest

before the fight

the 200 year old stone fence, part of the museum grounds
A lovely day, and sweet memories.

Half a life ago, I watched my mother mourn lost opportunity and lost health. The sadness of that time was more than we could speak of. What stands out: to number days, to fight for joy.

On, on.

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