I have so many good memories of you, Mom.  Normal  mom- memories, of you cooking in the kitchen, making granola and pancakes and lasagna and sometimes the dreaded liver and onions.  Of you making beds and painting walls and rearranging furniture, and watering your coleus and African violets on the shelf in front of our big picture window, and driving our big blue van to the grocery store.

I remember singing together in the quiet evening time on the living room floor, all dressed in our PJ’s.  We’d sing Jesus Loves Me and I am Jesus’ Little Lamb and Under His Wings and I’m But a Stranger Here and I don’t think we ever felt more like a family than then.

I remember daddy coming up behind you while you were cooking in the kitchen just to wrap his arms around you and kiss you on the neck and remind us all that you were at the center of his little world.  How you didn’t miss a beat in the cooking but your mouth curved in a smile all the same, and sometimes you’d reach back to kiss him while we all giggled.

I remember you looking lovely and stylish on Sunday mornings, walking us 8 kids all clean and slick-headed next door to the little church , where you settled us down in the back row, right in front of your organ.  Daddy in the front of church preaching and you, Mom, in the back, playing away on that lovely organ, feet and hands flying through every hymn.  You and Daddy were the bookends of my every church experience growing up.  It isn’t the least bit surprising I grew up knowing Jesus every remembered minute of my life.  And there isn’t a better gift than that.

I remember you nurturing the little ones, napping with them in the afternoons with a cloth diaper tucked into the bedroom door just so, to keep the latch quiet when one of us older kids would peek in the room with a question.  Other times of the day I’d find you in your rocking chair nursing the latest baby and reading Emily Loring books from the library propped just so in the drawer of a little table next to your chair for hands-free reading.   Thanks to La Leche League, none of us thought a thing you nursing those younger babies til the ripe old age of 3 — yes, even the big strong son who joined the military before he became a whiz at Microsoft, and the daughter who is now a missionary-nurse in Ethiopia working every day to save the lives of other mommas and babies.  I’m sure it was partly because of you that it felt natural to nurse my toddlers, including our precious girly who didn’t come into my arms til nearly two.

You gave me another gift too, though, Mom.  One I got seeing you living your own life, and working it out so that it twined in snug with ours, while still allowing you to be distinctly your own person.  You were at home almost all the time and yet you found time for interests that sustained you. You taught childbirth classes and assisted at home births and did breastfeeding counseling for woman after woman after woman, all while keeping space for us.  We never doubted that we were at the core of your heart.  But we had the privilege of seeing you as a vibrant and valuable and an interesting person apart from us.  It was a huge gift to give your six daughters, especially in this world that sometimes values at-home motherhood too little.  Life is as interesting as you make it, wherever you happen to spend your days.

When I tell you how sweet my memories are of you, you laugh and tell me I’m forgetting things, that there were some things you didn’t do right and that the picture was not as rosy as I remember.  But grace and time have left me remembering nothing but good.  I remember how you made me feel: strong and smart and capable and very well loved.  If I can do half of what you did for my own children, I will be thankful.  You have blessed me indeed.

Proverbs 31: 29-30– “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.  Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,  But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”


Click on the link to read about my friend Ann Voscamp’s Mother’s Day Project.

It’s not too late for you to thank your own mother, and bless a needy family in Haiti in the process.

1000 Moms Project



  1. Beautiful. “Grace and time” transform much of life, don’t they? You linked up just ahead of me at the 1000 Mom’s page, and I’m thankful for having stopped by.

  2. Wow! What a great Mom!

  3. Beautiful post. I love it. My mom has terminal cancer, and though I have a family of my own, and though she and I have lived vastly different lives, the thought of the ever-approaching day when my mom will be departs this world absolutely knocks the wind out of me. I was at the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair today, and Renee Ellison gave a talk in which she said about mothers, “the fact that you exist has a stabilizing impact on your children. You are an irreplaceable reference point.” I think this is the very reason I miss my mom in advance, and probably the very reason you recall your mother in such a sweet, tender way. There will never be another for us.

  4. (Sorry for the atrocious grammar. My response to your post was typed in split free moments, and I didn’t proofread before submitting. You get the point — and understand interruptions, I’m sure.)

  5. Melanie says:

    Thank you for this post. I tend to get teary eyed when reading your posts. This one is just awesome. It’s just amazing how our parents showed us that they loved us and still maintained their own interests! Seems so difficult but, they made it effortless. I hope my son feels that way about me when he has kids.

    Thanks again for being an inspiration,

  6. Beautiful post, Mary! You do indeed have a rich maternal legacy and are carrying on in the way quite beautifully yourself.

  7. Suzy K. says:

    Beautiful! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting your mom several times with the birth of my last two kiddo’s. The last one born a week and a half ago. She has a amazing legacy! As one of the nurses told us, she’s the baby whisperer and she hoped that she could be half the nurse that your mom is! She has such a gentle spirit…im honored and blessed to have met her!

  8. This made me cry! Our family absolutely adores your mother. She holds a very dear place in our hearts.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your mom. This is my 2nd Mother’s Day without mine and it’s been a difficult road accepting her death. She was in an assisted living facility and wandered out in the cold and froze to death on Christmas Eve 2010. Such a tragedy for a beautiful woman and such a difficulty for me as her daughter to make sense of the tragedy. I also write and blog to try and make sense of this loss and the difficulties in parenting wounded children. Thank you for sharing this.

  10. You are so blessed. Beyond blessed. But I suspect you already know that. 🙂