It's almost the end of Mother's Day for the year and I have neglected to write about my own mother. Shame on me!
So, let me take a moment and introduce you to her, if you've never before met. This is Linda. She's my mom.
What in the world can I say about this woman that will do her justice? My mom is my hero in many ways. She has endured hardships and yet continues to have a positive outlook. She's walked through triumphs and victories a plenty, but is still incredibly humble. She has never met a stranger and loves people.
My mom was first my hero because of what she'd done long before I was born. She was part of her high school all-star ladies basketball team with my Aunt Peggy. She graduated college in just three years with a teaching degree. Then, she entered the Air Force and went through Officer Training School to become a Lieutenant (don't remember the exact rank; sorry) as the only female in her class. That's when she met my dad. They got married and had three children. I'm number 2. During these years my mom taught school, then stayed home with her kids and ran a daycare in her home. She also sold things--I remember vacuum cleaners, but I'm sure there were other things. My parents divorced when I was about 7 and when I was 10 I moved to Arizona with my mom and brothers.
My mom had gone back into teaching math and taught at the high school where I would one day attend and graduate. She went back to school in the evenings and earned her Master's degree, plus about 60 hours. She went as far as she could without getting a doctorate, which didn't interest her much.From the time I was a baby my mom took me to church. She taught Sunday School, read me Bible stories, was part of the Women's Missionary Union, and kept us active in the church as kids. After we moved to Arizona we had some rocky years, to say the least, but after I recommitted by life to the Lord at age 15 my mom started going back to church and recommitted her life as well. I've watched her continue to grow in love with Jesus, depending on Him to guide and direct her. My mom encouraged me to pursue ministry back in college when I felt led by the Lord to put off getting my Bachelor's degree and serve in youth ministry. Despite her own feelings, she said goodbye to me and Joel and supported us 100% when we moved to back to Pennsylvania just six weeks after we got married. And, she again supported us 100% when the Lord called us to leave PA and move to Texas to serve on staff with Gospel for Asia.
My mom couldn't be with me when Rylee arrived in this world. She had to use a free ticket she had so she came to see me just two weeks before my due date. We were hoping the baby would arrive while she was visiting, but the Lord had other plans. So, Rylee met her Nana for the first time when she was about two months old. They hit it off immediately and have been great pals ever since. Mom wasn't about to miss the next birth, so when I was due with Asa and Jenna and it looked like I was going to have them early, she canceled her return flight to Arizona and told her school she would be gone for the month of January. We waited another 3 weeks for them to finally arrive (which was a good thing; they were born 4 weeks early as it was). Mom was with us when they made their debut and then stayed to help us adjust to being a family of five in those first few weeks.
There have been many times throughout my six years of motherhood that I've thought about my mom and wanted to be just like her. I've often imagined how overwhelming it must have been to be a single mother with three young kids. She's not perfect; she'll be the first to admit it. And, while there are certainly things I do different than she did or hope to have happen differently, there are a whole bunch of things I hope I can teach my kids that my mom taught me. My mom was always completely open and honest with us. She encouraged us to be who God made us to be and never criticized me for having a strong will or being outspoken. She tried to temper it, but never squelched it. She encouraged me in the things I wanted to pursue and gave me both roots and wings. She wasn't afraid to watch me fail, as I did regularly. She cried with me and laughed with me. She held my hand when I was scared, spanked my hind end when I needed correcting, and set high expectations. As a dancer, my mom wasn't a typical "stage mom", for which I was grateful. She was there and supportive, but she let me be independent. She cheered me on from the sidelines, clapped for me when I was on stage, and always believed in me.
Mom, so much of who I am today is because of you. I believe with all my heart you're exactly who God knew I needed to raise me. I am so grateful for you. Happy Mother's Day!