The best kind of moms love big and judge little. Loving Mom understands from her own life that we all need buckets of grace poured over us each day. She has made her own mistakes and does not expect perfection, but loves out of the joy and freedom she has received through grace.
I have so many memories of Mom loving big. My mother is generous with her love. I remember the joy on her face Christmas morning. She was more excited about giving the gifts than we were tearing into them. We may not have received expensive gifts, but she always knew exactly which doll would become my new best friend. (I still have them)
Once she told us that we were getting a big surprise. For weeks, we kept asking her what it would be. She finally relented and said that we were getting a goat. I remember being super excited the day a truck pulled into the driveway with a big box in the back. The side of the box read Zenith. It was a new TV. My mom laughed for days. She had tricked us and blessed us, and there’s not much that she enjoys more than that.
Part of my mother’s big love was teaching us how to have fun. We played softball in our yard, basketball at the church parking lot next door, and went roller skating together. Oh, did I tell you that she taught me how to do all of those things? Along with swimming, hiking, and gin rummy. We used to hike up in the mountains on Sunday afternoons. We would stop and get a can of Dr. Pepper to drink with lunch and then a huge burping contest would ensue.
There was always laughter.
One Halloween we were going trick-or-treating. My mother never bought costumes for us, and I’m so thankful. We had more fun creating our own! She decided that she would dress up too this time. She dressed like a man only so she could play a joke on her mother. When we arrived at my grandmother’s house, she did not have any clue as to who Mom was. My mother was loving it. She decided to pinch my grandmother on the bottom. Granny came out of her skin and punched my mom in the arm. We were on the floor laughing. Always laughter.
Another way my mom loves big is by supporting and encouraging. No matter what she let me try, whether it was ballet, clogging, gymnastics, or a number of school sports, she encouraged. Working a full time job did not allow for her to be at every game, but she came if she could, even though I was never “first string” on any team.
I knew my mom was proud of me because she told me. In high school and college, as I received awards and honors, she cried. Every time. Now that I’m a mother, I understand.
When I was away at college and off having adventures every summer, she wrote to me. I have a box of cards and letters that she gave me, all full of encouragement, support, and love. Some cards were just to keep me laughing, because my mom is one of the funniest people I know. (Remember the goat?)
The support of my mom has never been more real to me than when I entered motherhood. My mom was and still is an incredible grandmother. She came along side me and enjoyed those babies to the fullest. When our first child was ten months old, we moved away. That was so hard, but my mom spent many hours on the road, helping us move, visiting on birthdays, and loving her grandchildren with such big love.
Four years ago, with four children at home ages six to eleven, we had big news for my mom. We were going to adopt another child. I remember the smiles and tears shared with her that day.
Adoption is a long, emotional journey. Over one year of paperwork, lots of fund raising, prayers, and questions. God took us to Ethiopia to bring home two children, and I can honestly say that my mother was no less excited, tearful, or supportive of that homecoming than she was at each of our four births. She brags to everyone that she finally has two grandchildren with her brown eyes.
Adoption did not make sense for us. We already had four children and little to no extra money. Having my mother’s support meant everything, and still does.
My mom judges little. I love this about her. She sees her own mess and has learned to laugh at herself. Some days she calls me just to tell me some stupid thing she did and we roll with laughter. A truth that I see in her is that when we accept ourselves, it’s easy to give that grace to others. She has taught me to find humor in the tough times, how to laugh at myself and move on. My mother takes that old saying “don’t cry over spilled milk” to a new level. She does not live her life frustrated with herself or the mistakes of others.
I could go on and on about her, but if you only read this one paragraph, maybe you will understand the kind of mother my mom is, the kind I want to be. You see, my mom is not perfect. There were years in our relationship that I was angry and judged her with impossible expectations. I have learned that people are messy. There is no perfect mom, but there is a kind of mother that perseveres through mistakes and hard times, and through forgiveness and grace mends broken fences. My mom, like all of us, has had her share of messes, but she has loved big and judged little. The door was always open in our relationship and she gave of herself, even if there was little to give.
I need buckets of grace poured over me as a mom. I blow it every day with one of my kids. Thank you Mom for teaching me to show grace, to have fun, to judge little, and to laugh when an entire pan of enchiladas blows up in my kitchen.
Thank you Mom!! I love you more and more each day. Happy Mother’s Day!