A taste of FAITH, a touch of LAUGHTER.
It was another Mother’s Day….
I think of my Mum, of course, but I also think about my own motherhood. It has been an oddly peculiar reflection this year. As a result, I am writing my thoughts.
I don’t think I have ever been the traditional mother figure. I was a women’s lib lady pretty much in my college years and twenties at least, despite my very sheltered upbringing. It was the 60’s and 70’s, when there were new freedoms for young women like me. I married a traditionally minded and pretty much confirmed bachelor in my thirties. You can imagine how that went!
My Mum was a semi traditional Mum, of necessity, in the home cleaning and putting food on the table for a family of five on a limited income. Dad had good jobs most of the time so I’m not sure where the money went, since we seemed to be short a lot, but I remember my Mum always made sure we had food and clothing in the good times and in the hard times too when Dad was without jobs. I know that she neglected herself and her own needs at times to make sure we had what we needed.
She went to work in the hard times but still looked after us and the home. She could be as tough as nails, my Mum. She was often strict.
My Dad was military in background and I’m sure there was a lot to cope with. We saw and experienced some of that too. He was wounded in the foot and suffered shell shock, had nightmares and became manic depressive. We lived with his mood swings, highs and lows.
I know Mum had a hard upbringing with her own Mum. I don’t know all the facts except that she was a good student and could have progressed but she said that her Mum got sick and threw her papers into the fire saying “You have to stay home and look after me”. It’s probably why she insisted on all of us getting our education and completing it. I think it was smart….I have been glad of it.
My Mum was also delightful, in that she sang, and laughed, and encouraged us to sing, play instruments, write and act. She taught me so much about life and faith without saying a lot. It was in her actions towards others in her life who were considerably less fortunate. She taught me to notice and act towards them in kindness.
My Mum kept some hard secrets close to her heart. I know they were burdens, and I may never have the answers I seek about my Mum and my two estranged sisters, one who only became a real part of my life when she was thirteen (now passed away) and another who entered my life a little later when I was 14, who disappeared shortly after until I found her again through social media only fairly recently at age 70. I wish I knew more but I know my Mum carried great sadness in her heart but so often the sunshine and light was what we so often saw breaking through her sharpness and discipline.
In later years, she remarried after Dad’s death, and had some wonderful years before becoming disabled and bedridden by various forms of arthritis. She is still bedridden and unable do anything for herself to this day. She lives in another country so I do not see her. Her husband takes good care of her.
The last time I could afford the trip to visit was for 3 weeks and communication was extremely minimal, though treasured. Every moment of cognizance was prized as I had been told that her death was imminent. The workers told me that her eyes were always closed but as soon as I walked into the room one eye popped open and she looked directly at me!
That was several years ago now, and she remains in her bed today. I’m glad I had that time with her and journaled those memories in my blog.
I do not know how I have been as a mother to my kids, how things will be as I continue to age, or what they might say when I am gone, whether they will ever understand my character and actions, whether I too will leave them with so many unanswered questions. I hope and pray that they find something worthwhile to think about and remember.
Our experiences are what make us, in the large part. Some of it is tragic, but much of it, through the eyes of faith, becomes a blessing of some sort in the end. I look at my Mum’s life (what I know of it anyway) and see what she did with it, and how she influenced our direction for the best. I’m grateful.
I think that is what I hope for. I hope that whatever background I gave to my kids, they survive because of it and grow into all they need to be through it. I know that my shortcomings are ever before me, sometimes hitting me so hard in the face, that it brings me down into deep, dark places, but I know that this also, works to bring to me the challenge of working to be better.
Truth hurts but it also has a highly cathartic effect, if we allow it to work in us. So, it is a blessing, a gift from God, in whatever form it comes to us. When I remember to give it to Him, He will keep me out of the pit of self pity, depression and apathy. He will encourage me to see and accept the blessings of a each new day, a new opportunity for redemption and new ways of being, even at age 71.
I wonder if this was my Mum’s way, even though she did not share it. She gave her heart to the Lord in the Salvation Army as a young girl. She always talked about “the Man upstairs” and that there was “no rest for the wicked”. I lived with her example of a life of faith mixed with her fallible humanity.
She loved singing hymns. Her face just lit up. She never attended church that I know of in our life together as a family, due to her experiences as an unwed pregnant women in the society of the time and then a separated woman living with another man for 7 years before the final divorce. Hard position to be in at that time. Lots of gossip and shame.
I grew up with love in our home, despite the circumstances I have related here. I have much to treasure in my memories. I hope my children have known love in their upbringing. I hope and pray that it has been enough. Only time will tell.
I’m proud of my young men and what they have achieved in life so far. They have tried and tested me. I’m sure I have tried and tested them too. What pains me to recall must also pain them in some way. I may never know.
My prayer is that God will redeem, as only He can, any pain and sadness, any trials they have experienced in family life, into multiple joys and blessings in their own life journeys, as He has always done for me.
May it be so…….
Thankful for the love and forgiveness of God ❤