Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Musings

                         Unconditional Love.

All of these words should describe my mom. Sadly only one of these words describes my mom - life. My mom gave me life and for that I am very grateful. Sadly, I have absolutely no mother-daughter bond with the woman who gave me life. There are many reasons for this but that isn't the purpose of this post. 

It would be very easy for me to be angry, bitter, unforgiving, and to honestly dread Mother's Day. I look around at so many families in my church and see wonderful, loving mother-daughter relationships. I see many of my friends who are such great moms and exhibit all of these amazing qualities. No - none of them are perfect but they do show me what a mother-daughter relationship should look like. I was talking to my counselor earlier this week about Mother's Day coming up and he asked how it affected me. Did I dread it? What kind of emotions does it bring up? Does it bother me? As we were talking I thought about how I had just been at Wal-Mart and seen all the big Mother's Day displays. My first reaction was "Ugh, I can't wait for this to be over." But as we talked I realized how very blessed I am.

When I think back to my childhood I have no recollection of any happy memories with my mother. I'm sure there were some, but they either happened at such a young age that I don't recall, or I blocked them out - likely it is a combination of both. But what I do have are wonderful memories of 2 amazing women in my life. My Grandma and my Aunt on my Mom's side of the family. (I have great memories of my Aunt from my Daddy's side of the family but she lived further away and we didn't see her as often.) 

My Grandma (Gramma as I always wrote) and I were close for as long as I can remember. I have fond memories of going to visit her. Back in the day parents didn't think anything of putting their child on a bus sitting up in front by the driver all by herself to travel to Omaha from Des Moines. I don't know how old I was when I did this but I think I was about 8 or 9. I remember my Gramma picking me up at the bus station and then taking the bus back to her apartment. I remember stopping at the Kris' Drug Store on the corner where the bus stop was. I remember going out to eat, playing War and Crazy Eights and Scrabble. When we would play War and I would get on a roll of "winning" she would laughingly call me "Grabby" I remember how her apartment smelled, I remember how her silky pillowcases felt on my face and watching Johnny Carson on TV with her from her bed. I remember the peppermint candies in the candy dish. There was usually an assortment but there were ALWAYS Brach's Peppermints. Brach's Peppermints. I am a bargain shopper but this is one thing I don't skimp on. They HAVE to be the Brach's because that's what Gramma had in her dish.
This candy dish is now in my home and continues to always have the Brach's Pepermints in it. I love when people come over and ask if they can have a mint. I usually respond with, "Of course, my Gramma wouldn't have it any other way."

These are just a few of my memories, but overall I remember knowing I was deeply loved. We didn't agree on everything but she always loved me and I am so grateful to have such wonderful memories of this amazing woman in my life.

My Aunt Gail always held a special place in my heart. I remember visiting her in Omaha and going to their pet store and holding a snake. I remember holding my cousins when they were babies. I remember being at her house and loving on Buffy their adorable Cocker Spaniel.
This picture isn't Buffy, but it looks a lot like her, as I remember anyway. I also remember their beautiful Irish Setter Brandy. Her and my Uncle still have Setters today. This picture is Diana, their current Irish Setter.

My most favorite memory of my Aunt Gail was when her, my Uncle and 2 cousins were visiting in Des Moines. We were at Valley West Mall in West Des Moines and we had split up and I was with one of my cousins and my Aunt. We went to a toy store and they had a lot of stuffed animals there. I always loved animals (I know - big shocker to anyone who knows me well!) and I had a huge collection of stuffed animals. My Aunt wanted help picking out something for my cousin who wasn't with us and I picked a cute little mouse. My Aunt Gail bought it and then later gave it to me. It was so sweet... she wanted to get me what I wanted but wanted it to be a surprise. In the past several years my Aunt and I have gotten closer and closer. I think I can safely say she's one of my biggest fans. She loves me absolutely unconditionally, she encourages me, she supports me, she challenges me, she accepts me for who I am even though we have a lot of differences in some of our view points on things.

So, this Mother's Day I choose gratitude. I was dealt a lousy hand, but God, in His graciousness has given me the gift of these wonderful memories and the continued gift of my relationship with my amazing Aunt. One of the neatest things is she doesn't see anything she does as being anything special - she is just being herself - but that is enough because she is awesome and I love her a bushel and a peck and a great big hug around the neck (a saying passed down from my Gramma)

Unbelievably Blessed,