The stock we come from is so important don’t you think? It’s not everything. We all try to break family patterns that aren’t helpful or healthy but if we come from good stuff it’s so much easier to go on and live good healthy lives. The good habits and the good characteristics that are found in our families are as deeply ingrained as the not-so-healthy stuff. I think we often forget that.
My Mom is good stuff to come from. Here are some things about my Mom that have inspired me over the years.
My Mom has never claimed to be perfect but she is a person who has continued to grow and challenge herself her whole life. She keeps her heart open to learning new things and when she is challenged she rises to the occasion.
She is a person of faith. Not an idle faith, but one that is practiced consistently. My Mom has forgiven lots of people throughout her life and she has humbly asked for forgiveness from many as well. That, to me, is evidence of genuine faith. There is no recitation of empty words for my Mom. If her bible says, “forgive others as you have been forgiven” she does it.
My Mom gives people the benefit of the doubt. I remember as a teenager sitting in the car with her at McDonald’s, eating our take away, and there was a middle-aged guy sitting in the car beside us eating alone. I don’t remember what I said, but it was something sort of judgmental about his possible circumstances. My Mom gently began to suggest many plausible reasons why he might be eating his dinner alone in a car (like I haven’t done that a million times since). All these years later I carry that lesson with me. Think of all the reasons someone might be the way they are, why they might be acting the way they do or why they’re in the situation they’re in. My Mom is not judgmental. She’s good stuff to come from.
One of my all time favourite memories of my Mom happened up at the cottage. I can’t remember exactly when it was but I think she was about 75. Dave was pulling my girls around the lake on their knee board and my Mom got it in her head that she was going to try to water ski. She used to water ski, but it had been years. She began to get the skis organized and Harvey (my step-dad) said, “you’d better put a life jacket on.” She was a bit miffed. “I’ve never worn a life jacket waterskiing before!” He persisted, “you’re not as good a swimmer as you used to be.” Now she was totally irritated “I’m going waterskiing, I have no intention of swimming!” I don’t recall who won that one or if she wore a life jacket. I do remember that as she yelled, “hit it” and the boat took off from the dock she was steady as a rock. She lasted about half way around the lake never falling but never actually getting straight up either. She let go and sunk into the water. Dave circled around and lined the rope up and dragged her back into shore. As she got closer she said “I still have balance but I don’t have the strength in my upper legs anymore. I’ll have to work on that and try it again next year.” I glanced at my girls who I think were about 12, 10 and 5. They had watched the whole scene with great interest. I was so proud of my Mom. I looked at them and made sure that the moment wasn’t lost on them. “Girls, that’s the stuff you’re made of too!”
Strong women are an inspiration. Faithful women are the backbone of our families. Wise women encourage us to go deeper and lead meaningful lives. Loving women assure us that we’re not alone when we risk, that they are there with us, encouraging us to live fully and be courageous.
Thanks for the legacy Mom.
*My Mom at the cottage surrounded by just a few of the young lives she’s inspired.