When the second Sunday of May hit, I don't think I ever truly recognized how wonderful this day should be for my mother. We would go to Sunday service where it seemed every year Mrs. McCloud would lead us kids through the making of the tissue carnation scented with some perfume to give to our mothers. I would proudly give my mom the special carnation, while just moments before sitting in the service (pre-sermon) receiving real carnations. They had white ones, red ones, & pink ones.
Now, it just so happens that my mom's favorite flower is a carnation. Nothing spectacular about the carnation really, but seems fitting that on Mother's Day, she was guaranteed to get at least one real one and 2-3 tissue ones. The red carnation was for the women who held the long-honored job as mama. The pink carnation was for those who's mother was living & celebrate her. While the white, was for the people who have lost their mother--to honor them & recognize the mourning which comes for those who don't get celebrate that special woman.
On the way to church service today, with my two girls in the back, me actually dressed nice & Ben (the best husband & father I could ask for), I began to ponder what it would be like to hold that white carnation on a day like this.
I spoke to Ben about my Grandma Cox. She died at a very early age to cancer. When I was a kid (and even a teenager), I never truly grasped how death robbed her in her young age. For me, 57 seemed old. My mom was 31 when my Grandma died. I'm 30 and I cannot imagine my mom not being here the same time next year. There was my mom, holding that white carnation & red carnation at 32--bittersweet.
I'm thankful I have no white carnations in my bouquet. I'm thankful to be a mama, which I take for granted as many women long for this prized gift, yet have not seen their hope fulfilled. I'm especially thankful & grateful for my mom & my mother-in-law, Cherie.
My mother-in-law, Cherie is certainly the best second mom I could ask for. Ben takes after his mom with her quiet demeanor and steady/patient love. She has always welcomed me into their home. One thing I love about her is how important sending cards in the mail is to her. That's part of her welcoming me in & making sure I'm cared for. There is always a birthday card for me before my birthday, or cards for the girls, or Ben. She makes a big deal of these days & it means so much to me. Her attention to detail is truly phenomenal. When we go to a restaurant, she is sure to have Grandma toys in her purse & snacks. She's a devoted wife (36 years). She works without complaining and is very insightful about life in general. She is completely smitten over her granddaughters & turns a $5 Goodwill find into a treasure. Happy Mother's Day Cherie--we love you!
And my mom. She has taught me how to be gracious and ask forgiveness when she's wrong. I can recall many instances where she lost her temper, but came to me in tears admitting her wrong & asking for forgiveness. Her humility has imprinted itself upon the way I parent. She knows how to have fun & not take life so seriously. She has defended me & is probably my biggest advocate. She is quick to heap words of praise upon me, give me fresh perspective or wipe away doubt in my parenting troubles. She respects me as a person. I've seen our relationship blossom more & more over the years, as she takes heart to what I say & doesn't undermine me. My mom has an approachability about her. She has a teachable spirit. She has had a tough life. And although she's definitely not perfect--I think she's done the best with what she's been given. She adores her children & grandchildren. If you ever have a chance to meet her--I'm sure you'll be at ease right away & be laughing. I love you mom!
Both my mom & Cherie have said, "I'm not a kid person," or "I'm not very good with other people's kids...but once I had my kids, well that's different." Thanks to my two moms who have sacrificed with sleepless nights, terrible twos (3, 4, 13-18), worried, prayed hard, cried & cried, released us out of your hands, taught us, encouraged us & never stopped loving us. We love you!