Sunday, May 12, 2013

Classic: Mom is Cool

I wrote this post back in 2009... four years later, it still does a great job of saying how much respect I have for my incredible mom. 

I'm especially aware of Mothers Day this year as my Grandma Jenkins (my mom's mom) passed away early this week. She was 102 years old. 

I realize that one of the things my grandma handed down to my mom was a real & meaningful faith. I have a strong memory of sitting in Grandma's living as a kid, watching her cry. My grandpa was a farmer and it had been a couple of tough years with drought conditions. I distinctly remember her saying, "I don't know what we're gonna do, but I know God is going to take care of us"... through tears

There was a period in my life when I would not have titled a post about my mom in this manner. My mom was many things: educator, housewife, nanny, disciplinarian, Dad's wife, Sunday School teacher, WMU President, etc... but I would not have said my mom was cool.

That started to change as our relationship changed - as I left home to go to college & then seminary and the conversations we had on the phone or on holidays began to deepen. She talked more comfortably about spiritual things and how to deal with life. My mom even became one of the earliest adopters of Apple computers - she turned my old room into her "computer" room. (She still has more up-to-date gear than I do - in fact, some of my best stuff is hand-me-downs from Mom!)

I found out there was a lot more to my mom's life than just being the lady who told me to pick up my room (unsuccessfully!), forced to me learn cursive writing by doing workbooks during the summer, and fixed our meals. She'd been a cheerleader in high school... which weirds me out a little bit. (I've seen pictures and I still have trouble wrapping my head around it.) She didn't learn how to swim until college.

And although she never dreamed of it growing up, she's had the privilege to travel a number of different places around the world: the Far East, Europe, most of the U.S. and Canada... and right now, she & my sister are in Israel on a Kay Arthur study tour. That's pretty amazing considering she thought she was going to be a schoolteacher and settle down in the Ozarks where she grew up.

My mom has shown incredible courage in facing an illness that she's fought for 30 plus years that leaves her worn out if she pushes just the smallest bit over the line of her endurance. She helped my dad take care of Grandpa in his final years... and she's taken care of Dad for nearly half a century. (At this point, I tried a couple of times to make a snarky yet heartwarming comment about how hard it is to take care of my dad, but it either came out too mean or too syrupy-sweet... you get what I was going for, right?)

She managed to raise both my sister & I to be people who love Jesus with all of our lives... and though we've both given her grey hairs & crows feet from the tension our actions have caused, we both have a great relationship with her.

She's also been a wonderful grandmother to Braeden & Collin, her only grand kids. She reminds me of my Grandma Jackson, who would get down in the floor & play with us... and would listen to us babble on & on about stuff I'm sure she had no interest in whatsoever except that we were interested in it. I've watched Mom do that with my boys, and it makes me love her more.

Four years ago, my Mother's Day sermon was about parenting with hope... I thought then & I think now that my mom is an incredible example of what I was trying to say: that the best hope we have for our kids is to be individuals who imitate Christ. That's what my mom has done, and I'm thankful for it. 

My mom is cool.

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