When I was a teenager living in Colorado Springs, our youth group decided one Mothers' Day to vote for “Mother of the Year” and honor her during the Mothers' Day service. We voted by ballot. My brother and I confessed to one another we voted for our mom. When Mothers' Day arrived and the time had come to announce the “Mother of the Year”, our mom was chosen. Mom was surprised, but so was I. How wonderful it was our peers, without knowing her as we do, also saw her as the one to honor that year. For some reason we never had another “Mother of the Year” vote, so in my mind mom still holds the title in a particular church in Colorado Springs.
She was, and still is, the woman who notices those on the fringes in need of a friend. It was from my mother I learned to reach out and befriend the person ignored by others. Mom is a cheerleader for the one facing a hard thing and she prays. There has hardly been a holiday when a stranger didn't join us for a meal, someone lonely and in need of my mother's love and care. This is a woman with more ideas than days, energy far greater than most young people, and a great ability to laugh at herself. And she has given herself much to laugh about. My mom, my friend.
It was her prayers and determined encouragement that carried me through many hurdles. As the child who probably baffled her most, I am grateful for the ways she stood by me and believed in me. We are in many ways different, but we share the same passion for homemaking, the hurting, and for relationships. All three of her children inherited her appreciation for antiques. Her faithfulness to God and her loving, good intentions had a marvelous influence on the decisions we made to live for Christ.
Today my seventy-five-year old mother is driving home from Colorado Springs; she has been on an unusual journey. In early April my husband and I made the long drive from San Diego to Hereford, Texas for my step-dad Alton's funeral. It wasn't unexpected. We were relieved for his sake because he had suffered much the last months of his life; and he suffered bravely. Still it has been sad.
Jim and I planned on staying with my mom for a few days and to help her take care of things, but the time was shortened. Two churches Alton served over the years held memorial services and wanted my mom to attend. So with her van packed with mementos and clothes for every kind of weather, she took off for, what my husband lovingly calls, “The Alton Tour.” Mom drove to Fort Collins, Colorado for service one, and then flew to Cincinnati, Ohio for service two. While traveling she made time to see family and friends. And today, almost three weeks later, saturated with fellowship, she is going home. Home to a different life, a life without the man who poured love and adoration into her brokenness, the man who insisted she see places and entertained her on the journey with his wit and books.
Now this blog is really about my mom but I couldn't write about her without saying something of what she is going through today. It seems weird to think of mom without Alton, but this new chapter will one day become the new norm, though we will never forget the man who stuck close to her side for nearly 24 years. My mom can be amazingly resilient and resourceful. Her children are watching to see how she writes this chapter; she always surprises us. We will be close by to support her.
I am praying for her today as she makes the six hour drive home and for the next chapter of her life. Mom, may you fully embrace the love and care others have for you as you go into a different sort of future. We are all here for you. Jesus is here for you. Happy Mothers' Day to my mom, “Mother of the Year” every year!