A Mother's Treasures
Updated: May 10, 2021
What are your favourite memories of your mom?
One of my favourite memories with my mom would be standing at the kitchen window, doing dishes together after a delicious, lovingly-made meal. There, with the delicate garden scents brought in with the evening breeze and setting sun warming our face, we had most of our heart-felt conversations. Faith, love, hopes, dreams, disappointments, everything was open for discussion. Though unschooled, she provided sage wisdom gained from living life during war and depression.
Other more carefree traditions of my youth, like our family "group hugs", are now being treasured by my grand-daughter, four generations down. Standing in the kitchen, we would call out to each family member until all of us were there, put our arms around each other as we bunched and called out, "Group hug!" For our grand-daughter, it's now part of her night time routine.
As a mother, I, too, treasure those heartfelt moments I had with my own children when we would tackle the difficult issues of life. Thankfully, with God's help, we've persevered through our own heart-aches as a family: love, loss, my own mental health challenges, and strained extended family dynamics. Along with some challenging times we also share many good memories of travel, pool parties, and just doing every day life together.
Travel was a big deal with my dad, and by proxy for my mom and the rest of us as well. Whether it was tenting, camping in our truck camper, or traveling over seas, you could always guarantee it would be an adventure. A helicopter ride over Montserrat on dad's 77th birthday, the year following his heart surgery, and our vacations to Newfoundland and the Arc in Kentucky were some of the most memorable of our recent trips.
I caught the travel bug from my dad, and I'm pretty sure that I've passed it on to my children as well. Our travel adventures are among my favourite memories, even when I'm the butt of the joke. I enjoy the off-the-beaten-path journeys, which sometimes causes consternation among the others I travel with. Whether it's spending the few hours between flights roaming around London, refusing to take a GPS in our rental vehicle and hoping the map on my iPad will refresh before we reach the next road, perching precariously in a standard transmission vehicle along so many winding cliffs, or riding on the back of a scooter with my husband driving in Asia, the thrill of the adventure invigorates me. And there is nothing better than sharing those adventures with my children, and hopefully, when the COVID-19 travel restrictions lift, with my grand-daughter.
Sadly, this is not the story for many families. In my soon to be released book, Don't Tell, we see a very different story. As a young child, Joanie Brusseau viewed her mother a kind of Jackie Kennediesque woman-- perfect hair, dress always pressed, and a gracious hostess. But the relationship between Joanie and her parents became strained very early on, and as a Mother's Day gift to her mom, a year after her father died, she left home for good. There's been very little contact with her family since. Her early happy childhood, but a faded distant memory.
Since my dad passed last year, I've had the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with mom. Though many hours have been tying up the obligatory details following the death of a loved one, our reminiscing is uncovering nuggets of untold history. Together, we've driven by a lake-house where they once resided, walked by a home were a neighbourhood well, that along with her feet, once supplied their "running" water. As she regales me with her precious memories, I treasure them up, hoping to keep them alive long after she's gone, and regret that since my parents were always together, I'd never taken the time to sit with my dad like this.
In the end, though, I believe that it's not the specific memories that will linger, but the lessons learned through those cherished echos of the past. It's the wisdom, the character, the people we've become that will abide long after we are gone. Mom has most certainly left her mark on my life already; She also encouraged me to be a strong woman, but more important, both she and Dad leaving an indelible desire on me to serve God -- living a life for Christ was essential to her. For me, as a Christian, like my mom, it's Christ in me that's the legacy I hope to leave in my children and grandchildren.
As you reminisce and think back to your favourite moments with your mom, take a moment and leave a comment on the legacy that is being written on you.
And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and with people. Luke 2:19