Early on Saturday morning I make my way down to our kitchen. I fire up the coffee pot and begin dealing pans out across the stove. I pull out the breakfast ingredients and start dicing, chopping and cooking. The clanging of the cookware and breakfast making can be heard throughout the house. Soon the odor of the simmering morning meal will fill our home.
I hear some rustling. The sleepy home begins to wake. For the past several years, the first to the table would be my mother-in-law. She came to watch the show, but more importantly, she came to get some goodies. I always prepared some peanut butter toast and fruit for her, mainly to help curb the “Is it ready yet?” endless loop. However that never deterred her back-seat-cooking instructions that I would receive. She loved food and loved cooking. When she was no longer able to manage the task herself, she would live vicariously through others, including me. As I cooked, she would dream into the past and tell me stories. She would relay wisdom from her many years and reflect on current events. We discussed the changing seasons, family, vocations, life and of course, the menu. She is gone now, but I will forever laugh about and cherish those moments.
My mom was a teacher. She taught 3rd grade most of her career, which meant that like it or not, I got really good at addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, reading comprehension, writing, social studies, the scientific method, maps and graphs. My mom believed that the third grade curriculum built a wide foundation for the rest of your education. Most kids left their teacher at school, but not me. I got to be public schooled and home schooled at the same time. To be fair, I needed it. I would much rather be goofing off, building tree houses, riding bikes and catching tadpoles in the local stream than studying some book, diagraming sentences or doing my math assignment. In hindsight, it was an incredible blessing to have a teacher for a mom. But she wasn’t just a teacher. She was an encourager. “You can be anything you want to be, I’m incredibly proud of you.” Words like that are fuel for life. She gave me confidence to try and courage to fail. She was my champion and my defender as well as my teacher and my mom.
Good mothers shape the future. They make an incredible impact on our lives. It may not even be our biological parent that has the biggest impact. Many of us were adopted by other moms. I recall so many who spoke into my life with some encouragement, kindness and yes, even some discipline, that all helped shape who I am today. We are all the sum of the many investments made in us by others. I’m sure many of you have similar stories. This coming Sunday, as we arrive at another Mother’s Day in the US, take this opportunity to reflect on those investments our moms have made in us and be thankful.
To all you moms out there, you make a difference! Thank you, mom!