My Mom

Here's a morning most Moms will recognize. (If you know Hebrew, insert the word yada there.)

I got up this morning after hitting snooze five times, stumbled into the bathroom, took a shower (and washed my hair, which should be an Olympic event due to the thickness and length thereof), got dressed, broke up a fight, admonished kindness, threatened no treats for the rest of the day if clothes were not procured immediately, remembered Natalie's class was celebrating pajama day today thus negating the need for said clothes, told Connor he did not have the same luxury, gathered crying baby from bed, fed crying baby, changed diaper, pushed tiny limbs into tiny onesie while cooing at tiny smiling face, directing the hoards downstairs for morning sustenance, poured Raisin Bran Crunch for Connor, pleaded with Natalie to eat something, anything, "it's the most important meal of the day," gave up trying to get Natalie to eat breakfast, resigned myself to raising a child who will most likely fail her SATs due to lack of morning sustenance, plucked crying infant out of hateful bouncy chair, tried to eat Kashi while holding infant in lap, wiped milk drips
due to lack of hand-eye coordination off of infant's head , forewarned children that The Bus O' Mom would be leaving in 5 minutes, gathered last-minute school supplies and Natalie's lunch, balanced supplies and lunch and coffee and baby on trip down stairs, ran back up the stairs to get coats and snow pants and gloves out of dryer where they had been stuffed last night after a very wet and wild last-minute sledding party at Angie's, helped kids put on coats (no coat for Mom, since the Coat Boycott is already underway), buckled happy infant in car seat, steeled nerves for the wailing that was about to ensue, corralled everyone into the car, backed out of the driveway and saw that we were on time for school.

And that was just the first 90 minutes of my day.

Being a Mom is tough work. Amen?

This is a particularly tender truth to me today, because today, my Mom is celebrating a Big Birthday. I won't risk her wrath by reporting her age (although she would have no idea how to avenge herself here, since she and computers are not on speaking terms). Let's just say it's one of those birthdays when living 2,000 miles away from my family really stinks.

So instead of a warm hug from her oldest daughter, she's getting this -- a tribute on the World Wide Web. Which isn't altogether a bad thing, because it gives me the chance to brag on her a little and tell you she's my Mom Hero.

Ever since she was a little girl, my Mom has always wanted to have children. She loves children. She's great with children. In fact, before she met my Dad, she was a nurse who spent much of her time working with children.

So it's probably no surprise that her first baby (that would be me) was born only 14 months after she got married.

(First, a picture of my parents, avant moi. Aren't they stinkin' adorable?)
(Look Mom! That French I took in high school is paying off!)

Childbirth was no picnic. In fact, if you want to see my Mom get excited and my Dad stammer, ask about the time my Dad left my Mom while she was in labor in the hospital so he could go home and take a nap.

(I know!)

But it must not have been too bad. (Either that, or she has a really bad memory.) (Wait. ... Where was I? Oh yes!)

She kept having babies. Sadly, none were as cute as me. But God bless 'em for trying.

In a few short years, our family looked like this:

(Well, hello 1980. How have you been?)

(My siblings are so loving me right now.)

But here's the thing. The serious thing. The thing I sat down to say. My Mom gave birth to four children, raised us all to love the Lord, love each other and cook (well, not that last one, but not because she didn't try) and SHE LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

I can honestly say her family is her crown. Her family is her joy. Even on the hard days -- and with four loud children, I suspect there were more than a few -- I daresay her heart was full. She had her children and her husband around her. Nothing else mattered.

Of course, she did all sorts of "Mom" things. She got up early to pack our lunches. She made us a hot breakfast every morning, even when we all went to school at different times. (Even when one of her daughters complained bitterly of being teased for smelling like bacon at high school. Why couldn't she just dole out cold cereal like the other Moms? Why did she have to torture her teenager with French toast and syrup and bacon?!?) She did all our laundry. At one point, she sewed a ton of our clothes -- until she realized that was insanity with four kids. She baked everything from scratch (still does), created fabulous traditions and memories for our family (like the ornament one I described here), made art projects and picnic lunches and took us swimming and apple picking and sledding.

(And did I mention she's a pastor's wife?)

Even more importantly, she always took time to just be with us. When we were young,
she played "Candy Land" and "Chutes and Ladders" and Hot Wheels and restaurant. As we grew, she came to every play, game, concert and court hearing we threw her way. Now that we're grown and scattered, she spends hours listening to us ramble talk on the phone. She laughs with us, cries with us and always -- always -- points us to Jesus.

Now that I have three children of my own, I'm in awe of her accomplishments. I'm in awe of her heart. I'm in awe of her love. I'm in awe of her ironing skills.

She is everything I hope to be to my kids -- and more.

A few minutes ago, when I called to wish my Mom a happy birthday, she told me that one of her favorite Bible verses has always been James I:17, which says (in part): "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father."

I know she believes her family is a gift.

I believe she is ours.

Happy (big) birthday, Mom. I love you.

P.S. Remember, I'm your firstborn. I know you love me more. It's OK. I won't tell anyone.

P.S.S. That was to help you stop crying. See? Funny stops the tears. Right?


  1. Sniffle, sniffle. Humor worked for me! Happy birthday "Mom"!


  2. That was lovely. What a wonderful lady!

    You pretty much had me convinced of her greatness at "she played Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders".

  3. Excuse me for butting in here. I realize this is not exactly a man's domain...but I must defend myself. Not that my male ego is offended or anything like that. (Seriously) It's just that the record must be set straight before the eyes of the world. True. I went home to take a nap after checking in your mother at the hospital. She was comfortable. Cared for. Safe. Resting. Well, maybe in minor pain but... And it was the middle of the night, for heaven's sake. You were taking your sweet time coming, with little progress reported. Isn't it only rational that the coach for the upcoming, arduous day get some rest too?? Further, let it be stated that when the nurse phoned and told me to get my backside back there, I did so. Immediately. There, I feel better now. For awhile. Until your mother reads this far into your blog. (May I say it again--seriously--thank you for honoring your wonderful mother today with such well-deserved praise. As she would say, the glory goes to Jesus.) Love you.

  4. That was so, so sweet! What a blessing to have such a wonderful mom!

  5. You have changed, but your brother! OMG! He looks exactly the same! Your mom is quite a remarkable lady.

  6. What a beautiful post! And a beautiful testimony of your mother's life and love.
    Thank you for sharing that today!
    God Bless You.
    Amy:)(Also the "favorite" first born!)

  7. What a beautiful description of your Mother!! She sounds like wonderful person. You are a blessed family. the way...Nice Try there gdog, but GOING HOME? And, there is no such thing as MINOR pain for childbirth.

  8. That's beautiful. And the bacon story cracks me up - you just cannot do right by teenage daughters.

  9. Lovely post. Happy Birthday mom! The older I get, the more impressed I am with my parents. In fact, I am downright in awe of them. I just hate that it took me this long to realize it.

  10. Our moms share a birthday. :) And, I will chuckle all day about sweet Pastor gdog's defense of himself. Chuckle all day. Especially "Well, maybe in minor pain but..." Hahahahaha. Funny.

  11. Moms rock! I told my mom that is to NEVER leave in...[ahem]go to heaven without me. The blessing of a great relationship with your mom is priceless!

  12. Wow. That's a beautiful post about your mother. I would love for my daughter to be able to say the same thing about me someday!

    (Except for the hubby leaving during childbirth - we have C-sections, and he BETTER have his behind planted right there beside me in the operating room!!!)

  13. And her children rise up and call her blessed. Thanks for letting us see this praise--a true encouragement to the Body. Happy Birthday, Kelly's Mom!

  14. Aw, how sweet! Happy birthday, Mom!

    I just have sons - no girls. I'll bet THEY won't write sweet posts like that about ME! (sniff sniff) :-)

  15. That's beautiful!

    I was at a funeral for a lady in her 70s on the weekend, and her oldest son said that their mother made homemaking her life, but she did it with such grace that everyone around marvelled at the peace of her home.

    I found myself wondering if people would think the same thing about my home.

    I'm glad your mother was such a great example to you. Now if only we can be a good example to our kids!

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  16. She sounds like a wonderful, wonderful mother - and how neat that your dad commented! Great post.

  17. She sounds like such a great lady, and just the kind of mom I try (and try and try and try) everday to be.
    The bacon cracked me up...what a brat! I would have complained too!
    Love that picture, what a beautiful family!

  18. What a sweet post.

    And I can see from gdog's post that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Like father, like daughter.


  19. So glad I discovered your blog today! Your beautiful tribute to your precious Mom had me smiling, giggling and teary-eyed...what an incredible gift. No doubt she's been an inspiration to many...


  20. The picture you paint of your mom is the picture I have in my mind of the kind of mom I want my boys to remember.... she is exactly what I aspire to be as a mother. You are so lucky to have those memories!!

    The story about the breakfasts crack me up, b/c I am always thinking "why can't I just be that mom that gives them cereal every morning? Why do I have to make them something hot?" I feel better knowing they have warm tummies, although they could really care less and would think me even more cool if I gave them their favorite cereal. haha!

    Happy Birthday to your mom! And you and your dad, write the same. You sound the same in the way your write. That is awesome. ;-)

  21. Awww, Kelly! I can't imagine a better gift for your mom. Your tribute (and your dad's rebuttal! Priceless!) was beautiful. I agree that you are blessed - so blessed - to have her for your mom, but she's pretty blessed by you too. What an inspiration and some big shoes to fill! It makes me want to meet her.

    (Wait... did you say court hearing?!)

  22. Can you tell I'm enjoying reading back through your blog?

    I loved the opening to this post. That is so similar to the first hour of my morning it is hilarious. Except, I don't usually get a shower until night. I'm quite impressed that you manage waking early enough to get yours. You do it!