Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with."
Mark Twain

I love this picture for so many reasons, not the least of which is that my mom took it. It's a glimpse of what she saw in us girls and wanted to remember. I can imagine how happy she was to have my sister and me in the kitchen with her prepping something for a party. Some of her most happy moments were in planning for and preparing everything for a party she would host. I'm tipped off that a gathering was in the works because the big stainless steel coffee pot is out and at the ready in the background. It only came up and out from the basement when people were coming over. I love that I look nearly identical to Ainsley in this shot. And so I can completely imagine my mom's glee in looking in on a little girl of only five happy to be helping the way that I look at my own precious mommy's helper. Though I'm reasonably sure we weren't offering a lot of true "help" to the process. I love that my sister is right next to me and that we're working together and smiling easily. I love that on the back of the photo in my mom's own hand the words "Christmas 1973" are penned in her consistent cursive. It's a snapshot I'll ever treasure.

It's almost Mother's Day so naturally my heart is turned toward thoughts of my mom as it ever has been for the past two months. Though we didn't always spend the day together when miles and gnarled neurotransmitters prevented our connection, we were always close at heart on the second Sunday in May. This year she's close at heart more than ever before. I feel her presence in the deepest part of my heart. In the corners that no one else sees, I sense her warmth and reassurance. I can almost palpably feel her enveloping hugs if I close my eyes and remember. Oh, the gift of a good memory. May it ever be mine, dear Lord.

Though I am still often drenched in grief and certainly a good bit of sadness, I celebrate this day with a new found memorial and hope. You know that mother's heart that revels, I mean actually truly revels in helping her child to experience joy in something simple? That heart that spends more time in the girls size 7-10 section of Carson Pirie Scott than the misses section and is all the happier for it. The heart that celebrates fully when their daughter is ecstatic about a new haircut or the rainbow toss pillow for her bedroom...all while she knows her own hair needs a trim and some color like water in the desert? It's that mother's heart we all long to have. To truly live out the gospel in our mothering by willingly (gladly, even) putting the needs of our littles before ourselves. This is what my mom did and this is what I shall do for her this first Mothering Day (as it's called in Great Britain) that I will spend without her.

Though this first holiday without her brings me the gamut of emotion and loss, for my mom this is the first Mother's Day in 43 years that she will spend in the company of her own mother. Forty.three.years. I am stunned by this thought. Floored by the idea that every May for nearly the whole of my life my mom's heart was awash with emotion from each extreme. On those Sundays when we presented her with dandelion bouquets and marker-penned construction cards, her heart must have been full of contrasting sentiments. She was surely happy for the love received from her beloved children, yet all the while she had to be thinking of her dear mother already gone on to heaven well before the time she was ready to let her go.

But this year it's different. This year she sits in the presence not only of her heavenly Father but of her earthly mother as well. I cannot help be thrilled for her and feel the same type of merriment she must have felt so many times when celebrating what brought me happiness.

She has longed for this reunion for so long. In her final days we showed her many pictures of cherished friends and family. She would brighten with each portrait shown depicting someone whose life had left a permanent and loving imprint on hers. But there was no reaction quite as bright as when she saw the picture of her parents. Her face lit up like Christmas morning. We were talking to her about heaven, how glorious and amazing it would be. How many of her dear friends and loved ones were waiting for her there. She pointed to the picture of her mother and with the levity of a girl and asked with undeniable delight, "Will I see her today?!" Oh, what a reunion they must have had and must still be having!

She's surely catching her up and all that happened over those 43 years. I cannot help but think that my mom, even in death, is having one of the best Mother's Days of her life and that brings me more joy than I can possibly contain. Because, of course, she isn't dead at all but experiencing eternal, unfettered, unmatched life in the presence of dearly loved people and the God whose glory fills this earth (whether everyone acknowledges Him or not).

And so I will rejoice with my mom who is rejoicing. I will join the party from here and will celebrate all the more when we are face-to-face yet again.

4 Comments so far - Add yours!

  1. Melinda, this is such a beautiful tribute to your mom. Wishing you peach as you rejoice and remember this Mother's Day!

  2. I love your words and how you weave them together.

  3. I love your words and how you weave them together.

  4. Thanks for your kindness, Kelly and Robin. Means so much.