Wow. Mother's Day can be rough, can't it? Bittersweet is totally not enough of a word for it. More like altogether wonderful and altogether gut-wrenching at the same time.
For those of us who've lost our moms, for the women who are aching to be moms, for the moms who have broken and painful relationships with their children, for the women who have lost their babies, and probably for a thousand other reasons...it can be so painful.
And obviously the pain shouldn't keep us from celebrating and loving while we are here on earth. My grandpa always says to "Celebrate as much as possible." So we celebrate. But I think it's right and good to acknowledge the pain.
I can only write to my own experience. Like so many of you, there are a million thank you's I want to say to my mom today. And like many of you, at some point this afternoon, the inability to express those thank you's came out in racking sobs. "This Spirit intercedes for us in sighs too deep for words...." (Romans 8:26)
But writing is therapy for me, so now I need to write. And although so much of what I want to say to my own Mom is just between me and God, I also think much of what's in my heart can be shared by (and possibly even helpful) to those who've lost their moms, or grandma's, or aunts, or mentors, or dear friends.
So here we go...
To the Mamas in Heaven -
Is there coffee in Heaven? If there is, sit down and have a cup. As you're drinking your coffee, can I tell you about how much I miss you? I know there are no tears in heaven so this won't make you sad. It makes me sad. But I hope it makes you happy. I hope your heart will be filled to overflowing to know how much we love you.
You have no idea how you are missed. Let me try to tell you. Here's when I miss you:
Every time I smell banana bread. Every time I try to remember how to make pork chops. Every time I need to hem my pants. Every time I thread a needle. Every time your granddaughter giggles and it's exactly like you. Every time I go for a walk and remember all the miles I've walked with you. Every time I plant a flower. Every time I see a flower. Every time I curl up under a quilt. Every time I see a quilt. Every rainy morning when I sit drinking coffee. Thanks for drinking so much coffee with me.
Every time I make chocolate chip cookies. I make the world's best chocolate chip cookies because I had the world's best teacher.
Every time your granddaughter shows us a new painting from art class. She's an artist like you. You would have done so much art together. Every time your granddaughter goes out to check on her lilies. They're from your garden, you know. Every time your grandson has to go dig in the dirt. You and him would have dug in the dirt together. Every time your baby grandson laughs. It aches me that you didn't get to hear his belly laugh. You would have loved it. I know that heaven is better than even a baby's laugh, and that blows my mind too much to wrap my brain around it. I'm so glad you're there but I want you here.
Every time I feel like I'm sacrificing anything for the sake of my own family, it takes my breath away to realize how much you sacrificed for us. Until the day you left here, you were sacrificing for us. That also hurts my brain too much to think about it, so instead I'll just say thank you.
Every time I do laundry. You did so.much.laundry over the years. Did I ever say thank you?
Every time I tell everyone it's supper time. You were adamant about family supper, and now I am too. Because of you. Thank you.
Every time we take our kids to church. Thank you for making sure we were always at church.
Every time I take my kids to the park. Thank you for loving the outdoors and instilling that in us. You were happiest outside. So am I. So are your grandkids.
Every time I feel the sun kissing my face. You loved the sun on your face. So do I. My kids laugh at me when they see me with my face tilted to the sun. They don't know that I chuckled at you doing the same thing for years.
Every time my girlfriends are with their moms. Or on the phones with their moms. Or talking about their moms.
Not a day has gone by when I haven't wished I could call you.
You have no idea what I'd give to have coffee with you again. I'm so glad we have eternity to do that. Is there coffee in heaven? If so, you better be prepared to spend a lot of time in heaven drinking coffee with me to make up for the time we've lost.
You taught me to be a mom. You didn't do it perfectly. You made a lot of mistakes. And what gives me so much hope is that looking back, I don't see those mistakes. I see this awesome, loving, sacrificial, hilarious mom who I am striving to be like.
And the reason it gives me hope is because I don't do it perfectly either. I make so. many. mistakes. And it brings me so much peace to know that in the long run my kids won't remember the mistakes.
They'll remember the parks and the bike rides and the books and the baking and the movie nights and the church activities and the Bible stories and the games and the love and the forgiveness.
And there's a lot I don't know, but I do know that for sure. I know with assurance that kids remember the best of their parents, not the worst. And for that I praise God.
Thanks for teaching me what matters. You never had a lot of money and you never really cared. We ate well and enjoyed life and you left this earth with an abundant, rich, loving legacy. You gave of yourself your whole life long.
Thank you. More than words.
Someday we'll talk again over coffee in Heaven.