Some of my favorite memories are the hours and hours we spent in the car together—just me and her—as she carted me off to my gymnastics lessons or my softball games. We would blast the country radio station and sing our hearts out... just like the Judds! The Judds on wheels!
She taught me to harmonize, to find what wasn't there and fill it up with my voice. She was the one who had an open ear to hear me belting out hymns as I stood on the soft chair beside her at church… as I first reveled in the thrill of a whole group of strangers joining together in one common song.
She was the one who believed in me and whom I still think of with gratitude every single time I open my mouth to sing.
My mother is the bravest woman I know. I always felt that she trusted me because she allowed me to make my own decisions and then actually let me to wrestle through the consequences of those decisions. She did not rescue me from every single bump or bruise or pain. She supported me with her wise words and love, but then had the bravery to step back and truly let me figure out who I was through it all. Still, I always knew that she was there waiting in the wings to catch me if I fell too far... to fight alongside me if the battle got too rough for me to fight on my own. I didn’t realize the bravery in this kind of love until I had children of my own. Everything in me wants to protect my kids from every single discomfort, but to do so would be treacherous! No one can grow strong without some weight to strain and push against.
On that fateful day 12 years ago, when my own child filled up his own tiny lungs with the air of this earth for the very first time, my relationship with my mother was instantly changed. Suddenly, we were business associates! Mothers alike. Same job descriptions, different levels of experience. (I was the pimply trainee holding the mop.)
All of the hard work and tears she'd poured into raising me well was now to be poured out into the next generation. Her years of labor would be multiplied and magnified, rippled through the lives of my own children and my children’s children, and on and on.
My mother is fiercely intelligent and willing to take big risks in life. She trusts her gut instinct and that is probably the biggest gift she has given me: She has taught me to do the same. She has taught me to trust the small voice inside of me and actually value the inklings of my heart.
I would not be who I am today if I had not seen my mother living this way and desired to follow suit.
Dearest MoMar, I will never be able to wrap words around what you mean to me. Thank you for pouring yourself out for me. I will continue to try and do the same for my children, too. Thank you for always embracing my husband as if he were a son, even from the very beginning when we were both so young and clueless. That has blessed me more than I can say, and I aim to do the same for those my own sons grow to love someday.
As this Mothers Day approaches, I am thankful… THANK YOU to all you mamas out there who are in the trenches, giving your lives away the best you know how. This Mother’s Day, take a moment to look up and remember that you are a part of a greater story and that your labor and toil will touch generations you may never even see with your own eyes. Look back. Look forward. Remember your great value, remember your great worth. And Happy Mothers Day to you!