How to be a Mother

This is my Mom.
Isn’t she just so cute?
Her and my Dad own an ice cream and sandwich shop downtown. Kooky Mooky’s is what we call it. It’s a really fun stop, if you were wondering. My kids especially love having unlimited ice cream whenever they want. Yes, we are spoiled.
But I didn’t really want to write about Kooky’s. Even though it is a worthy topic.
I really wanted to write about motherhood and where that all began for me.
Well, it began with this lady.
Mother’s Day was this past Sunday. Yes, I realize I’m late in writing about this. But that’s my life right now.
As I was concentrating through contractions (which turned out to be the trickster kind, still no baby yet!), I was reminded of the pain and difficulty motherhood often begins with. It is a life of ultimate sacrifice that you are thrown into. Without warning. Without the ability to turn back. It takes you hostage. And you are forced to either surrender to it or fight it for the rest of your life.
It is a hard thing. Maybe it comes easier to some, harder for others. But a process it must be for each and every one.
I have watched my Mom throughout her/my life. And I have learned so much. She has influenced me probably more than anyone else on this planet.

As my childhood memories swirl around in my head, there are certain (sometimes silly) things that stand out to me the most…

I remember her french braiding my hair and me whining because it hurt. “Beauty is pain,” she said. I didn’t quite understand what that meant at the time. But I was content with the answer. Anything worth having is worth suffering for.
I remember being in McDonald’s and being up in line and everyone walking past me, ignoring me. I remember her telling me that I should never let people walk over me just because I was small. “Stand up for yourself!” she told me. “Find your voice and use it!” “Don’t be afraid of people.” So I wasn’t.
I remember her taking me along when she spoke to youth groups about sex and it being worth waiting for. There was a red construction-papered heart that she tore up and passed around to the group. This was such a wonderful word picture of the damage we can do to ourselves when we give pieces of our hearts away. It impacted me greatly. To this day, I have never regretted Dustin being the only man I’ve ever kissed.

I remember her potato soup. (Hmm, think I’ll make that for dinner tonight!)

I remember when she cut my bangs too short and I had to go to school the next day. She used it as a lesson on self-esteem. She told me not to act embarrassed, otherwise I would be. That I should hold my head high instead of walking with it bowed down. I did that, bangs sticking straight out and everything.

I remember singing ‘opera’.

I remember how hard she worked when we moved out of our Lady’s Island house. She never whined or complained, just worked along side my Dad to get it done.

I remember her getting up when it was still dark. She made my dad sandwiches. She drank her coffee. And she read God’s Word. Every. Single. Morning.

I remember her talking through her teeth when she got mad. I think I do that.

I remember when she told us we would be home schooled. I was excited and mortified at the same time. Mortified because, “Well, what about my friends!!??!!”

I remember how hard homeschooling was in the beginning and that she didn’t give up when it would have been so much easier.

I remember her reading Star of Light to us. And her tears dropping on the page.

I remember her telling me that I could be different. That I didn’t have to be a rebellious teenager. That we could still have a relationship. That it only had to be as hard as we made it.

I remember going through a time when I wished I were in a different family. But she stayed faithful to me even when I wasn’t.

I remember her packages that came while I was in college. She sent me bran muffins. And garlic pills one time. I had to stop taking them when my deodorant was no longer masking the smell. That’s when I learned of my extreme sensitivity to garlic of any kind. I love it, but you know it when I’ve eaten it!

I remember our long talks over chips and salsa. Her encouragement. Her exhortation. Her honesty and bluntness that I came to admire so much. I wanted to be like that. To not be afraid or hide behind pretty smiles. To be real with people and with myself.

Yeah.

Mom, you’ve taught be so much. I don’t even think I realize just how much. I love being your daughter, being apart of you. And now living in your ‘front’ yard. I still see you get up every morning to have your time with the Lord. You still challenge me and convict me and encourage me. Even when you make me mad. =)

Thanks for surrendering to motherhood all those years ago. For showing me how to. For walking with me when I wanted to throw the towel in. For encouraging me to keep going. And for teaching me how to be a woman who isn’t afraid to be real and what it means to live a life pleasing to the Lord.

I love you.

3 thoughts on “How to be a Mother

  1. Oh lands, katie told me to read your blog. Now I'm hiding behind the hot dog buns trying to regain composure. Thank you sister. I love you!

  2. What a meaningful tribute, Mika'l. Thank you for sharing those memories and those traits you emulate. I don't know her well, but I know you make your mom proud. I love the mom you have become and are still becoming. xox

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