My very favourite picture of my mom is one from many, many years ago. She was in the kitchen, mixing what I believe to be fruit-cake in one of her big, metal, mixing bowls. I'm not sure what happened just before the picture was taken, but she had her picture snapped as she was turned away from the counter with her hands full of dough. She has this *Look* on her face, the Look that I love, the Look that is part amusement, part pretended-annoyance, and part impishness, as she's wondering how much enjoyment she can get before she gets caught. It is my absolute-favourite picture of my mom... I think I love it because I loved catching those moments when she let herself get carried away in the fun. (My mom is also very responsible and because of her duties with work and home, I was not able to get a copy of the picture in time to put in here. Our loss, her tax clients' gain!)
(This picture will have to suffice, circa 1978.)
My favourite memories of my mom involve all those "Mom Things"... Laundry, cooking, baking, school, cleaning. You know how people ask what your earliest childhood memory is? Well mine is of lying in a pile of dirty sheets in the hallway outside the bathroom, because it must have been Monday, and Monday was sheets day. My mom had dutifully stripped the beds and I was most likely in the way as I reclined into the sheets. She threw some sheets on top of me and all I remember is LOVING it.
I decided to make some muffins for my kids today, so I grabbed my recipe for Apple Cinnamon Muffins and realized that this was the recipe I made with my mom when I was about 11 years old. Each of us girls got to try out a recipe from the new "Kids in the Kitchen" fundraiser cookbook that our church had put together. I remember being taught to methodically measure and cut so that the recipe would come out just right. Those muffins were delicious! I don't know if it was because I made them under Mom's tutelage, or that I got to do it "on my own" or something else, but that is one of the only recipes that I make over and over again from that cookbook.
My mom was always available for school stuff. She would bake for bake sales and drive us when we had practices for extra-curricular events. I am certain that she went on field trips with us (although I can't remember a specific one.) I remember a few times that she rescued me from the embarrassment that only females suffer. (Thanks for driving in to school and picking me up!)
But the thing that I have the most memories of is something that involves the whole family... We had the best family card nights! I can remember so many times when we would all dissolve into laughter. Mom would have that Look on her face (see the description of the picture I wanted to include) and if the discussion was really funny she would break up in laughter along with the rest of us.
I was looking through the digital pictures of my mom, most of them from the year 2000 and forward. I noticed a trend that perfectly represents where my mom is most comfortable...
Anyone who knows her knows that she loves babies. Holding them, bathing them, changing their poopy diapers. My mom loves it all. She is a great mom, but she's really found her niche as a grandma! She loves it so much that with all her grandkids living at least a day's drive away, she finds new grandkids to spread the love to. If you chat with her long enough, you'll hear about the kids in the Grade One class that she reads with or the kids that visited over the weekend that she had fun snuggling with.
You might also notice, if you were to look through the pictures of my family over the last 38 years or so that Mom and Dad are still married, still happy, and still serving God together. I am very thankful that I have a mom so committed to living the way God wants her to! It has certainly had an influence on the godly choices I make, even if we don't see eye to eye on some of those decisions. And seeing my parents together, after 38 not-always-easy years, I have hope for future generations, that not every couple will call it quits when things get a little bumpy. I am so glad that I never once worried that my parents might split up. That is quite a legacy!
Now that I'm a grown-up with a family of my own, I'm a horrible failure at trying to be the Super-Mom that my mother was. I'm lucky if I get my sheets washed every other week, let alone every Monday. My counter is not nearly as tidy as the one in my memories (nor as tidy as the one in her current house!) And I lose my patience with my kids much more frequently than I remember out of Mom. But I try to hold down the fort. At least I've got a pretty good example to look up to. God sure knew what He was doing when He made my mom.
I love you, Mom!