This time of year is hard for my mom. Yesterday was the birthday of the baby she lost when he was only three months old. Wednesday is Valentine’s day and her Valentine is in heaven and then a week after that will be her wedding anniversary. Then a couple weeks after that, we’ll be celebrating Jen’s 5th heaven birthday. Those of us who are used to grief know that there are just times of the year that are harder than others. So I think my mom needs to be reminded of some things.
You are essential to my life. I’ve said this before, but my physical body was made up of atoms and molecules stolen from yours. From the very beginning, you kept me warm, protected my tiny forming soul and soothed me with the soft sounds of your heart beat. You provided everything that I needed. This is something I didn’t fully appreciate until I had children of my own. And even then, it’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that you were my sole source of every single nutrient, molecule, atom, element that I needed, sacrificing yourself for me. I was the parasite and you were the willing host.
I was your rainbow baby. After losing Josh, God gave you me – a stubborn, strong-willed, bossy little girl who you refused to put down or share. And if you ask my older siblings, they will tell you that I was as attached to you as you were to me. Thank you for loving me with so much passion. Thank you for holding on to me so tightly. Thank you for making me feel special. These were things I also did not appreciate very much until I had my own rainbow baby.
Then through my difficult preteen and teenage years where I was an insufferable know-it-all and always looking for a fight, you continued to love me no matter how prickly or difficult I was. You engaged in my fights just enough to make me feel like I was heard, but not so much that I felt like we were always fighting. You supported my decisions and provided me with plenty of opportunity to express my independence without removing all sense of responsibility. You trusted me. Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with being told what to do and while you had the unpleasant job of doing that, you also allowed to me to figure out what needed to be done without telling me to do it. That takes serious skill!
It was not until I moved out and went to college that I really learned to appreciate what an incredible person you are. You are smart and sensible, rational and logical while at the same time, warm, caring and motherly. You are calm in the middle of a storm and you ease the anxious hearts of those around you. You’re generous and loving and supportive. You give some of the best hugs – while not giant bear hugs like daddy’s, they are soft and warm and comforting. Patrick always talks about how much he loves your hugs.
Then when I had children of my own, it was very clear how much I had taken you for granted. Not only your expertise in the labor and delivery room, but just your expertise in life. Your patience and love. Your kindness and forgiveness. Your discipline and sense of duty. Your sense of humor and your hugs, always your hugs. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for you. Please rest assured, that no matter what you might think of yourself, no matter what self doubts you may have, no matter what you think you could have or should have done better, you did one incredible job as mother to me and my siblings. We could not have dreamed for anything more.
And I haven’t even mentioned the incredible pillar of strength and faith you are and how much you’ve held me up over the past years. From showing up at my door with groceries and making me dinner after we brought Bo home from the hospital to being by my bedside as I delivered each and every one of my children. From coaching me through labor to being the first person to hug me when the doctors decided Jake didn’t make it. From feeding me, caring for me and sacrificing everything for me and my siblings to sitting by Jen’s bedside as she slipped away. Mom, you are seriously the strongest person I know. God made you for the purpose of being my mom. He prepared you in every possible way to be able to minister to me, love me and support me through life. I am unafraid of what is to come because of you. I wish I had more words to tell you what you mean to me and how much I love you, but I don’t believe there is time enough in the world to do that.
I love you. You are my hero – the one I aspire to be. The one with the other half of my brain. The one I look up to and admire more than anyone else. Thank you for pointing me to Christ and thank you for showing me what it means to live like Him. Thank you for showing my children what a grandmother can be – loving, generous and kind but without undermining me or spoiling them. Thank you for being YOU. You are one amazing, awe inspiring, beautiful woman.