The following story was sent to me by my friend and colleague Kelly Friedman. I wanted to share it with you all.
In Kelly’s own words:
Below is an article that my Mother wrote and published in a local newspaper over Mother’s Day weekend. A local pastor read it and then based his Mother’s Day sermon on it.
It is personal to me because it is about my Mother, Grandmother, and Family, but thought that it might speak to you as a daughter. I also forwarded the article to other female friends who could appreciate it as Moms, Daughters, and Granddaughters.
When I was growing up, I never went to Disney World, nor did our family take vacations. I don’t remember my mother—a working mom In the 50’s—ever playing games with me.
Still, I didn’t miss out. Since Mother’s Day is next week, I’ve given a lot of thought about our relationship. How did my mother love me? Let me count the ways.
During my childhood, she stuffed Vick’s VapoRub up my nose with an extra dab in my mouth for double-protection against the flu.
She advised me to count my fingers—on the sly—while doing arithmetic at the blackboard.
She tried not to show her reluctance when she left for work.
She convinced me “everything will be all right” whenever I had butterflies in my stomach.
She told me she loved me several times a day.
When my father died, my 34-year-old mother became a single mom, just as I was on the brink of becoming a teenager. How did my mother love me, even during those turbulent teen years?
She insisted on curfews—shorter during the school week; a little later on Fridays and Saturdays.
She wanted to know who my friends were and where I was going.
She usually liked my fashion choices and always told me how pretty I looked.
She nixed a new pair of trend setting “hip huggers”—low slung pants, barely below the navel—I had purchased. She told me how awful they looked and sent me—despite my protests—back to the department store where I bought them.
She encouraged openness between us, never wincing whenever I told her about some of the teen antics going on.
When I grew up and got married, my mother continued to make caring a priority.
She gave my husband and me her blessings when we married and grew to love him like a son. Later, she admitted– at first– she wasn’t crazy over him or anyone I had dated who were “kids” in her eyes.
She surprised us often with practical items for newlyweds like a huge trash can she purchased and hauled in her car, delivering it to us one evening on her way home from work.
She helped me wash windows, turning a chore into fun, as we chatted while we worked.
She listened to my endless talk about friends, work, anxieties and joys.
When our children were born, she became the grandmother I strive to be.
She used her vacation to help me take care of each of my two children when they were born.
She spent her weekly day off with me and my two toddlers, having driven an hour to our home for shopping and lunch.
She took more vacation days –through the years–to watch our children during an occasional weekend when my husband and I could use a break.
She cooked our favorite dinners on holidays and in-between, insisting we take home leftovers so I wouldn’t have to cook.
She gave my children lasting memories of their times together.
At the end of my mother’s life, when she was 82 years old and confined to a bed, she still worried about my welfare.
“This is so hard on you,” she said.
As I imagine my mother in the wonderful place where wonderful mothers go, I silently thank her.
How do I love you? Let me count the ways.