I know! I’m behind. I’m using the excuse that I have too much on my plate. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. So … below is a letter I wrote to my mother on her birthday five years ago. Earlier that year, I wrote a letter to my dad on his birthday, nearly ten years after his passing. I decided that maybe I should also write to people still living, expressing gratitude for their impact on my life while they can realize the acknowledgement. Many things have changed in five years, but the acknowledgements are the same. Here goes…
Dear Mom, 5/1/11
Today is your 78th birthday. It seems like just yesterday you were turning 40 and everyone was commenting on the fact that you didn’t look your age. Some things never change. People are still saying it. Just thought I’d write a few things that have been running through my mind. From tales of your experience on the farm in Ohio, your fights with your sister, to your sharing of your faith through art, you have touched many with your talent and consistent prayer life.
I saw so many things that showed me the beauty of God’s creation through the way you experienced color and light. From the early years, life was about expression through art. I mean, who else’s mom drew detailed farm animals or flowers to keep them occupied in church? I fell in love with creating things with my hands because of you and I still love putting things together. When I’m bored in a meeting, you will most likely find me practicing different letter fonts or sketching a posed hand.
You also loved music and have great talent. Combined with Dad’s talent, knowledge, and love of music, you have blessed many. Even today as I sang “His Name is Wonderful” with the worship team, I remembered the privilege I had of singing it with you both and fought back the emotion of a beautiful memory. When I hear you singing a hymn during your devotion time in the morning, I feel blessed to know that prayer is reaching heaven on my behalf every day.
I’m sure you remember my ‘helping’ skills sometime in 3rd or 4th grade. You were planning a party and wanted the house to be spotless. I was helping to dust and wanted to do such a good job to please you. I thought I was doing my best when I completely covered the piano with Old English Oil. You saw how oily it was and got frustrated, telling me that now you had more work to do trying to rub it off. I was broken-hearted and went to my room while you finished. I will never forget your coming to apologize and asking me to forgive you for raising your voice when I had not meant to cause more work. It’s the one thing I have tried my best to model as a mother, because I respected you so much more for admitting a mistake. I’ve had to apologize to Lindsay many times, and I know I earned her respect as well.
Life changed after losing Chris and I know you felt you had to be strong. You taught me that when life is tough and things look the bleakest, there is always strength in Jesus to go on. As I go to practice on Monday evenings and look around the room at your chalk pictures and wood burning, I feel honored to have seen Jesus through your eyes.
It hurts to know you are in such pain and unable to create like you used to, I wonder why God would take away the talent you exclusively used for Him. Then I realize that it is because you have used up all the talent He gave you, sharing it with many, and allowing Him to multiply its effects, rather than hoarding it out of fear.
Last but not least is your humorous side. You rarely told jokes because that was Dad’s thing, but the occasions when you let loose with the dry humor were the best! Never feel bad about our giggling session on the way to Dad’s funeral. He was already relieved of pain and I think he would have wanted us to be happy for him.
Your Favorite Daughter
If you haven’t done it already, CALL YOUR MOM! Remind her that all the time and effort spent was worth it. And if you have a difficult relationship with your mom for whatever reason, find another mom-mentor and connect for the benefit of both.