My mother and I are very different. I am sharp where she is soft. My tongue is quick where hers is careful. My eyes roll where hers share compassion.
Sometimes I think I will never be as good as my mother. When I tell her this, she starts to cry because she doesn’t believe in her own beauty. There are some things that you just can’t be told.
I hate it when people take my time. This is probably my Big Number One Badness. I am quick to listen over coffee, happy to write back and forth, delighted to exchange ideas and longings and go on day trips. But I am slow to do for people. My family (sort of) jokes around about the fact that I am not the most reliable when it comes to cleaning the house or doing favors. They joke because they love me anyway, but I know that it isn’t exactly funny.
My mother gets up every morning to drive my father to work. She taught us at home for twelve years; I still remember the moment she showed me Little House on the Prairie when I was in kindergarten and my life changed forever. My favorite place to learn is still the little round table with the blue and white checkered table cloth, just me and my mom while the three younger kids were taking naps. She drops what she’s doing to help any one of her children. She works in the house and she works in the garden and her loyalty is sometimes so strong I’m scared. She bakes amazing cookies for no occasion other than it’s Tuesday and I don’t think I’ve ever heard her complain.
Some people think she’s too emotional; they see her emotion as weakness. What we – my father, my brothers, my sister, and I – know is that she is the strongest woman in our lives.
We are so different in so many ways. My mother doesn’t write, but she crafts the most delicious meals and the feet of loved ones are never cold with her cozy knitted socks. She doesn’t sing, but she knows how to encourage and make you see where you can grow but also how far you’ve already grown. It’s taken me years to see that these are gifts of infinite value.
I know my mother will read this and she will say, “We are not so different,” and I will hope and pray that she is right. It might not be against the grain to say that my mother is my dearest friend and my closest mentor. There isn’t a smile more genuine or a heart more compassionate. God shines through her, and I want everyone to know what a woman lives in this little no-name town.