From the second that I drew my first breath, and nine months before, I was destined to become the daughter of one of the most exceptional woman that, quite frankly God ever created. This is a woman who had the gift of laughter that she would give to me. She always carries a gift of humor and the ability to see something humorous or positive in the most negative of situations. She possesses the gift of unconditional and God knew I’d need plenty that. She is a woman of impeccable character. I am still working on that one and don’t see at this stage of my life that I’ll get. Nonetheless, God thought I needed to see that and witness it first hand. She has the most beautiful smile and twinkling eyes that you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else on this side of Heaven.
Of all these character traits, first and foremost, my Mother is a Godly woman. I can see her wince now as she reads this. Because, being Godly means being humble and that she is too. Way, way, way humble. I was born on the pew, so to speak, and just assumed that all other children in the world went to church every time the doors were open. I remember laying my head in her lap and hearing her sing. I remember feeling her heartbeat when I would lie very still. I remember how she would scratch my back to keep me still in the assembly. I remember getting pinched and getting my head thumped. I can see her sitting in her chair reading the Bible or snuggled next to me in bed reading from Egenmeir’s Bible Story Book with all the cool pictures of Jesus, Moses, Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego. I remember meeting God through the eyes of my Mother. I still look in her beautiful eyes and see His reflection.
Her inward beauty is also coupled with outward beauty. She grew up a tomboy always looking for a tussle or a fight with her brothers. She loved sports and still does. She wrangled, wrestled, played pranks that curled her poor Mama’s hair! Probably another reason that I love a good joke or healthy prank! She blossomed like a country girl often does and her beauty did not go unnoticed. She soon caught the eye of a handsome Dublin boy at the soda fountain and they fell in love. They taught my sister’s and me about marriage, longevity, stamina, persistence, submission, and basically how to survive as a family when all around you families are crumbling. In June, this marriage will have lived 65 years of “I Love You’’s” , “I’m sorry’s” and “It really was my fault’”. Three daughters witnessed that over the course of years and knew of no other way to enter or stay in a marriage. We didn’t know about screaming and fighting. And yes, we know how blessed we are. My daddy is full of quips daily why he loves Mother so much. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell her that he loves her at least 40 times. That is his goal…..40 times. He makes it a point after he has driven her to the edge to make sure she knows that he’ll jump with her! He thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world and showers her with surprises, both words and gifts. It may have taken him awhile but so what? Remember her gift of patience? He called me the other night to ask if I knew of any beauty pageants for older women because he wanted to enter Mother in one. He has the gift of humor too in case you wondered! Believe me, it is a daily dose of humor in that house.
My mother loved her Mother. This is another story in itself. She took her Mother into her home and cared for her until she was too tired to speak. For 13 years she had no life except being a daughter again. She never knew of any other way. Her patience and love for my grandmother lasted until, at 105, my grandmother went to live with Jesus and wait for the rest of us. Her last words, as she glanced over at my mom, were, “You are my daughter, aren’t you?” And she was, indeed.
Of all the things that my Mother is ……….she is my best friend. She was my first friend in the world. I mean the universe. That fact is no secret to all my other friends and she is their best friend too. When I was small, I remember feeling sorry for all the other children in the world who didn’t have my Mother as theirs. Their mothers all paled in comparison to mine! None were as beautiful, as talented, as smart and as hard working as my mom. She made me always feel beautiful too. When I wore my blue glasses with black speckles for school pictures she framed the 8 X 10. When I had to wear a monstrosity head gear with my braces she thought I looked amazing. Much better than other children looked with the same contraption. She slept with me when I was sick. She brought cool cloths when I had fever or upset stomach. She held my hand when I got a pencillin shot. We moved alot but every home was better then the one before. No matter where the United States Air Force sent us, our home was the best. I was never afraid or insecure. Then I knew what peaceful sleep was. I always knew that my parents were only a scream away. I volunteered my Mother for all kinds of things from cookies to field trips. I still do! She is still the one I want first when anything goes wrong. I need to hear her voice. Not just need but NEED. She understands me better than anyone in the world. She does for me the things that I cannot or will not do for myself. She gives me confidence, support, and security. She lets me fall in her arms when I need her. She prays unendingly for my sisters and me. And, of course, all of our children and grandchildren. Of all the greatest gifts that God has given me, one that I will always cherish, is that I still sit beside my Mother on the pew. I still hear her beautiful voice lifted up in praise. I still hold her hand when we pray. I know the feel of the pages of her Bible and all the little notes stuffed inside. I know the pictures that she has tucked in all the pockets. I can still reach down for her purse, like I did when I was a child, and get a piece of gum and see what she has new in there. I can reach over and lay my arm in her lap and she’ll still scratch it. If I get antsy and fidgety (because I still do) she still thumps my head.
I learned how to be a Mother from my Mother. The greatest blessing of all. I learned how to laugh, how to joke, how to forgive, how to believe, how to sing, how to pray, how to be a friend, how to be fair, how if I don’t have something nice to say to not say anything, and how to love. And proudly, I learned I am a pretty good head thumper too.
So, Helen Naomi, with one L……Mother, Mom, Mama, and Nana…..I love you with all my heart. I thank God everyday that you are my Mother. To the moon and back……infinity…….forever. Thanks for a most enchanted childhood that still continues everyday of my life.