When I think of my mom, I think of flowers.
She spent so many hours trying to turn Florida sand into a garden, and she mostly succeeded. She gathered cuttings from neighbors and family, and she nurtured them into beautiful plants that we enjoyed. She talked about her flowers, and I am always amazed at how much comes back to me as I work with my own plants. This isn’t because I was a willing student – nope! But evidently some of what she said bore fruit in me, much, much later.
Mama was a homemaker, but that title does not really cover the scope of her life. While her home was always her focus and priority, she went well beyond her home in her activities and influence.
Mom raised four children to adulthood. While doing this she also cared for other families and children. She kept children for moms who had to work outside the home, and she helped rear and train several nieces and nephews and neighbor’s children through the years. She never differentiated between them. If they were at her house, they were her children, and she treated them as such. Most knew that it was best not to challenge her, so they just behaved.
While she stayed at home, she maintained the financial records and books for Dad’s business. She helped run the PTA, the Band Boosters Association, and the school clinic. She was the room mother, and teachers knew they could depend on her for anything they needed. On Sundays, she taught Sunday School and made sure that we were all in church. Wherever we were, she made friends, and she always knew what was going on – sometimes to our dismay.
As my brothers and sister and I grew, mom took a job outside the home. First, she worked to make things easier for Dad. Then, after his death she worked to support herself.
Even after retirement she continued to stay busy. She became a caregiver for an “older lady” – Mom was in her sixties. Then, she helped care for her grandchildren. Well into her seventies she could outwork most people in her yard. It was her joy, and she took great pride in its upkeep. She was happiest when she was needed and busy.
Anyone that knew Mom knew that she was a fisherman. She fished with Dad until he died and continued to take advantage of every opportunity after that. Her love of fishing was followed closely by her love of eating fish. She enjoyed the fish her friends and family brought to her when she could not fish for herself. Up until the last few weeks of her life Saturday mornings found her watching the fishing shows on TV and complaining because they threw the fish back.
Mom lived as a widow for over thirty years. She also outlived her oldest daughter. Mama loved fiercely, so she never really got over the loss of those she loved. As one by one her siblings went before her, she questioned why God left her here.
In later years as her health grew worse and she because less able to do the things she enjoyed, I sometimes caught glimpses of the young girl that Mom never ceased to be. It was as if she were still sixteen and trapped in a body that just would not cooperate. She forced herself to continue walking and by sheer force of will and the grace of God managed to maintain her independence at home until the last few months of her life.
Mom left a heritage in her children, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren, and her many friends. She left a heritage of determination and love. My mom led me to Christ, and she set an example of service for me to follow.
Of all the things in life I have doubted, I never doubted that she loved me.
She was strong-willed and feisty until the end, and we never had to wonder what she thought about things. During her last days she caught a glimpse of what awaited her and let go of her grip on this life. As she hovered between two worlds, she still wanted to know that those she loved were okay, but she was glad to be going Home.
Mom’s sphere of influence went far beyond her home. What her children have accomplished is largely due to the values and principles from God’s word that she instilled in us. She did not talk about or display trophies, but she left quite a few to speak for themselves.
“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
Happy Mother’s Day!
Photo – Daisy Do, Beth Mims