Thursday, November 08, 2012

I am who I am because of her.

Today is my Mama's birthday!  Happy Birthday, Mimi!

This is one of my favorite pictures of my Mama.  This was taken when my brother got married in 2006.  Mason was 15 months old.  He did not cooperate very well for pictures on this day, but isn't Mimi looking pretty?!  That's how I will always remember my Mama.
My mother has been many things to me over the years.  Of course, she is my MOM.  And now she is my children's Mimi.  And she is my bestest friend!  I've really missed her in these 12 1/2 years since I left home, and I wish I could see her more often or even talk to her more often.  It is only since I became a mother myself that I can truly appreciate my own mother, that I can recognize all of the many things she did for me that I'd never even noticed before.

The greatest thing she taught me was how to be a mom.  My very earliest memory of her is when I was four years old or maybe five.  Rob and I were outside riding our bikes in the driveway.  She was sitting in a chair at the edge of the carport watching us, cross stitch in hand.

She was a stay-at-home mom until I started kindergarten and then she went back to work.  As a working mother, she had a home cooked meal on our table EVERY NIGHT.  That is one of the greatest gifts she gave us.  And I, too, put a home cooked meal on our table every night as well.  She is the reason for that.

My dad worked 12-hour swing shifts and every other weekend.  So he would work night shift for two weeks and then day shift for two weeks.  He worked 8:00am-8:00pm and 8:00pm-8:00am.  She never complained on those nights he didn't get home until 8:30.  She made sure supper was cooked, our home was in order and Rob and I were cleaned up and ready for bed.  She never complained on the Sundays when she had to get Rob and me up and ready for church after Daddy had already gone to work and couldn't go with us.  We never missed a Sunday, a Sunday night or a Wednesday night.  I didn't know it at the time, but this would been one of the greatest testimonies to me as a mother and a wife.  On the days I'm tempted to complain when my husband is working out of town, I remember my mom and how she, day in and day out, took care of us and our home, and I want to be that kind of mom for my children as well.  I want to be that kind of wife for my husband.  I want our home to be that warm, comfortable, familiar, loving place.

Mama is a true southern belle.  She loves make-up, and she loves shoes.  She's always had a closet full of shoes as long as I can remember!  And my aunt always tells the story of how she came to visit us in the hospital right after I was born, and Mama was already sitting up in bed with her make-up on.  Growing up, I don't remember my Mama without make-up.  She never gossiped or talked ill of anyone.  She taught me to chew with my lips closed, always write thank you notes and make my bed every morning.  

My Mama is strong.  She handled a breast cancer diagnosis and surgery and treatment with dignity and grace.  I watched her care for my grandfather in his last days as he succumbed to the cancer that filled his body.  She now helps care for her 95-year old mother.  

Mama did a lot of things for me when I was growing up . . . bandaged my knees, French braided my hair, played with me in the middle of the floor . . . but one of the things I'm forever grateful for is that, week after week, she made sure I was at my piano lessons on time.  And she did this for ten years!  

I remember the day she took me shopping to pick out my Senior prom dress.  She let me get whatever dress I wanted no matter the cost.  And I did.  Looking back on it, that dress was really expensive.  But she didn't say a word.  She bought that dress for me, and I loved it!  I also remember the day we went shopping for my wedding dress.  And the day we picked it up.  And the day my dad AND MY MOM walked me down the aisle to meet my husband.

She came to Louisiana when Mason was born and sat in that waiting room for 14 hours.  She came to Mississippi after Hannah Kate was born and stayed up with that baby during the wee night hours so I could get some sleep.  She came to Louisiana after Ellie was born and played with my biggies, washed and folded my laundry and mopped my floors.  I'm so glad the Lord gave us Ellie so she could carry my mother's name.  
Mason and Hannah Kate (and Ellie) sure do love their Mimi.  I mean, who is going to buy a waterslide to keep at their house for their grandchildren who they see once a summer?  Mimi did!  And who is going to send them happies and presents in the mail?  Mimi does!  And who brings popsicles when she comes for a visit?  Mimi does!  And who makes room in her lap for more than one child clamoring for her attention?  Mimi does!  Hannah Kate in particular seems to have a special connection with Mimi.  Recently, she asks me on nearly a daily basis when we're going to Mimi's house again.

I wish I could tell you what my Mama means to me, but I just can't seem to find the right words.  They just aren't enough.  I just know I am who I am because of my Mama.  And if I'm even half the Mama to my children that she is to me, I'll be doing pretty good.

Happy 60th Birthday, Mama!  I love you!

GIVING THANKS | Day 8:  I'm thankful for my Mama!


Mama said...

My eyes are flooding ... splashing on my toes! Of all the joys and blessings in my life, you my dear daughter are at the top. To be honest, I observe and admire your mothering...and especially how your heart for Jesus just leaks love all over the place...and say to myself, "WOW, if I could have been a mother like that..."
Your tribute melts me. I love you in ways and at a depth I can't even fully express.

TwoBellesandaBeau said...

That is a precious sentiment about your mom Julie... I am crying too. Isn't it funny how much more we appreciate our moms once have had children of our own. Happy Birthday Mrs. Susan.

Beth B. said...

Beautifully written Julie. I am sure you are just as special to your children as your mom is to you. I don't even have children yet and I totally agree - I appreciate both of my parents more and more the older I get. Children just don't understand the sacrifices parents make at the time.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Susan!