Have you ever thought about your earliest memory? Can you go way back in your mind and recall your first memory? Have you tried?
My very first memory, ever, is of my mom. She was getting me out of the car seat and we were dropping my sister off at preschool.
My mom was a fun mom. We always had something creative to do or some fun adventure to take. It was ok to get into a little bit of trouble and mom always took the fall when dad got home. Once, she even let my sister bring home her class duck “Waddles” and we adopted him.
When we were really little my mom let my sister have a birthday party for her cabbage patch kid doll. Remember, they came with birth certificates? Upon discovering that it was "Peter's" birthday, my mom bought a big bag of bubble gum, invited all the neighborhood kids over, and coordinated a bubble gum scavenger hunt in our backyard.
I still remember riding around in the car with her, my sister and I in my parent's mint green Nova. That was when you didn't have to wear seat belts and my sister and I hid on the floor and played games.
One of my favorite things to do was watch my mom put on make-up. I always wondered how she curled her eyelashes without poking her eye out. I was so enthralled by her lipstick and shiny eye shadow. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to wear some.
My mom was an artist. One day, she took us into the kitchen and got out canvasses and oil paints and taught us to paint. My dad, to this day, raves about how creative my mom was in raising us.
She taught us to enjoy life, smell the flowers, paint with our fingers, and play in the rain.
When we got a little older my mother really honed in on her sewing skills. She used to give sewing lessons at the house. She became the family fashion designer and made a lot of our clothing growing up. One Easter she made me a poodle skirt and we puffed it out with about 12 different slips-no kidding!!!
When we got older, things got complicated as they often do between teen girls and their moms, but my mother forged ahead, encouraged us to go out for sports and be active, and taught us to love our new curves.
Mom was always someone you could go to when you had questions about sex, although her answers tended to weigh on the TMI side of things, but I got my questions answered nonetheless and appreciated her honestly now looking back.
Something happened in my adult years that many of us experience. I left the nest and my relationship with my mother changed. I was my own person. I was ready to face the world and drink up all the creativity in it. One day my mother said something to me that I think really rings true. She said, “Your children grow up loving you because you are their mom, but when you get older its like they fall in love with you all over again when they understand the concept of friendships and relationships and that mom isn’t just their mom, she is a friend and confident.”
My relationship with my mom has never been perfect and she will always be my mom, but I love this phase in life where she has become someone that I attend events with, travel with, and confide in. Sometimes we spend afternoons together shopping or at the spa. We hang curtains and decorate the house together. She isn't just an authority figure or a source material things. She is a constant loving and nurturing part of my life with whom I can truly be friends with and lean on through all of life's ups and downs.
So this tribute I write to my mom, not because I have a perfect mom or because of the things she has done for me or given me, I write it to a woman who has truly shaped the woman I have become. For that I am eternally thankful. I love you with all my heart, mom. And I always will.
I want to raise a glass to you today for giving me the most forgiving and unconditional love a child never deserved but got anyway, for all the amazing outfits, for letting me in the bed when I had nightmares, and taking the heat when we got in trouble with dad.
But most of all I am grateful for the legacy that you left to me of loving God, being happy with myself, embracing who I am, letting my life be ruled by fun and creativity, and all of the life lessons you taught me along the way (despite the fact that I still cannot sew or keep a garden alive). Thank you for denying yourself so many times so we wouldn’t go without.
A Tribute to Moms
The legacy that a mother leaves with her child has impacted so many of us in strong, evident and lasting ways. A few weeks ago, I asked my readers to send in tributes to their mothers noting the legacy that she left with them. You responded so beautifully.
True to her Norwegian heritage...My mom is a woman of few words but her actions and tears have spoken volumes about her care for all of God's creation. Mom taught me early that God loves everyone. I watched her and looking back realize she had endless patience with and love for people - from the Jehovah's witness who came by regularly for a few years (and mom had her Bible out to compare it with the Witness' green book), to neighbors who I later came to realize were "needy" so others weren't as kind to them, to her work for several years as a substitute teacher for the school for kids with special needs and severe disabilities. Recently, her sister, my aunt, who is in her 80s moved within an hour's drive from my mom. My aunt is in the hospital and my mom visits her daily - first it was to feed her, since she wasn't eating and now it's to cheer her up and encourage her. ... She has taught me to care about the world and everything in it.
My mom, Jeann Hudson, taught me so many, many things; persistence, dedication, and service. But even more profound were the lessons in unconditional love and to be the hands and feet of Christ. We have gone to separate churches for the last 20 years. When my youngest of six was in elementary school, her church had a Wednesday night children's program called Awana's. Each week, she would pick them up from my house, take them out to supper and then on to church. It didn't matter how tired she was, how grumpy they were, or how poor the weather, she faithfully poured into them and led them to the cross...they treasure these memories with their grandmother and I am thankful for a mother who took her responsibility to "train up a child in the way they should go" and I am grateful that "when they are old they shall not depart from it."
My mom taught me and is still teaching me to love and be sensitive to all living things. My mom has a huge heart for animals. Pets become family, and we would all mourn their loss when they died. It was comforting to have a mom who would hurt along side of us and not just tell us to "suck it up"...She has a love for growing things and would encourage my sister and I in our gardening. I think my love for Spring comes from her. Her gentleness makes us love people more as well. Growing up she taught us not to judge others because of their social status or race. She taught us to not make fun of people or bully, even when we were hurt by them or bullied by them.These types of things are what I want to instill in my son. I can already see his love for life and people coming out. I want him to respect all living things and even if he hunts and fishes, he will only do so for food. I want him to love the great outdoors and the new life Spring brings. Most of all I want him to love people like Christ loves people...I can already tell he has a good heart. My prayer is that I, as his mother, will nurture that in him. I pray I will nurture the love of life in him, as my mom does in me."
My mom showed me how to open my home…and how to open my heart to the people around me. She taught me grace, and she also taught me tenacity. She brought me up when I was down, and she brought me around when I was seeing things the wrong way. She gave me her best. She gave me her heart. She gave me Jesus.
My Mom taught me what it looked like to trust God's word in trying circumstances and believing it is true even if our experiences make us feel the opposite. Her faithfulness to Jesus in the midst of varying trying circumstances spoke so loudly to me.
My mom and I always share a laugh about how alike we are, and how I inherited a lot of qualities from her...including some that she doesn't necessarily love about herself. But thankfully, I inherited one quality that outweighs anything negative: her self-discipline in studying Scripture. Mom studies the Word. She does it consistently and obediently, and with a diligence I don't see or know in many other people. She is working on her second master's degree right now and still made time for teaching Precepts this year because that's a part of her life she just can't live with out. Discipline has so many negative connotations, but self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and part of that is self-discipline. Only as I've gotten older, have I learned to love and treasure this part of my mom that I find in myself, and the more disciplined I become in my own life, the more grateful I am for her example.
The legacy that my mother has passed down to me is one that I hope I will someday be able to pass down to my future children. I view it as a gift that she has been giving me everyday since she learned of my existence. This legacy, or life lesson, is the way she places those she loves before herself. She made a sacrifice for me before I ever spent a day on this earth, and has made thousands more over the 26 years of my life. Someday I wish to love a daughter as sacrificially and unselfishly as my mother has loved me. She has been teaching me this lesson over many years, and it is the best skill a mom could teach her daughter. Her legacy is a lesson in unconditional and sacrificial love, and I am blessed to have an opportunity to follow in such loving footsteps.
The legacy that my mother has past down to me and my siblings is her love of God's Word. She has shown us this in many different ways throughout our lives. She lives out the Word, her actions show her knowledge of what is in the Bible and she faithfully obeys Her Father in Heaven with the way she loves and serves others. She has been so consistent with her love of the Word. From the time we were little kids until now, I have always heard about the Bible and all of the amazing things Jesus has promised to me. From reading us children's Bible stories when we were little to currently encouraging us to memorize Scripture so that it would be constantly flowing through our hearts and minds, my mom has given us a love for the Word of God. Now, I am encouraged, challenged, and motivated to love God by following in my mother's footsteps and reading, obeying, teaching, memorizing, and living out the Word of God.
I think the thing about my mother that affected me the most and that I will tell others about her long after she is gone is her ability to put others in front of herself and sacrifice for what is best for that other person whether it be family, friends or just someone who needed to be loved. It’s hard to learn how to be a parent, how hard a parent’s job is, or how much a parent loves you when you are the child however because of my mother’s servant heart I got an opportunity to see her show god’s love to someone, who wasn’t her child, and love them like her own, when her godson Junior was born. Junior comes from a home broken by drugs and poverty both of which play a big role in how he was born, a drug dependent baby, and how he goes through everyday life in the inner city of Brooklyn. My family has known Junior all of his life, in fact my mother raised him for the first two weeks of his life out of the hospital... The amount of patience and sacrifice required for this task are not traits that many people I know possess. I’ve never let my mother know how much I love and respect her for the sacrifices and the patience she’s had with me/my siblings/ and Junior but I am eternally grateful to God for giving me a mother that I can learn these traits from and hopefully use with my children and the people who may need me to sacrifice and be loving and patient towards them. Mom, I am extremely blessed to call you my mother and I love you very much thank you for being such a great example of not only what a loving parent is but what it means to use your gifts to serve the Lord.