My mother turns 90 on Thanksgiving Day this year. My family and I are extremely thankful to celebrate her life. She is healthier than any of us, and we plan on marking 100 years with her!
Somewhere along the way, my mother and I became more than mother and daughter. We became friends. I don’t know if there was a beginning to the friendship, or if it was always there. We have been friends for as many years as I can remember.
I look back and realize my mother lived her life for my sister and me, foregoing much of her own life for ours. Whether it was our education, our health, or the way we lived our lives, my mother ensured we had not only what we needed, but also what we wanted. The doll of our dreams, the music lessons. We never wanted for anything. I am thankful that my mother cared about my teeth, cared about my education, cared about my decisions, was willing to drive me to lessons and activities, and that she was always there for me, even when I didn’t deserve it.
Unfortunately, I remember too many times when I didn’t deserve it. One of the greatest gifts I received was forgiveness. I can’t remember a time when my mother reminded me of my failures. They happened. I faced the consequences, and it was as though they never happened.
From the time I was young our family traveled throughout the US for my father’s work. My mother forfeited the “American dream” of a nice house in a nice suburb to keep our family together. I never heard her complain. It wasn’t until my adult years that I realized how unique our life was. I am deeply grateful for the decision to keep our family together, even though it must have been difficult at times for my mother. I recognize my mother’s courage to leave family and friends to be with our father. I cherish the experiences we had while living in so many places. Our extraordinary life journey was instrumental in preparing me for the ministry God called me to.
Because we were always together as a family, I couldn’t imagine life without both of my parents, and I couldn’t imagine my mother and father without one another. But as happens in so many families, my mother was widowed too early. Her ability to walk with my father through the last months of life was tremendous. While I would have done anything to keep these two that I loved so much from the pain of sickness and death, I could do so little. I am grateful to have walked with my mother through that journey of grief, and then to see her strength as she moved forward with life, finding new love and a fulfilling life in the years since.
Because we often moved, I was blessed to have a sister, who was my best friend. My mother made sure my sister and I were not only sisters but friends. We were always best friends, and as far as I am concerned, she will always be my best friend. In my times of greatest joy and distress these are the women I turn to. I thank my mother for teaching us how to love each other.
Along the way, my mother took me to church. Those who are believers know how important this is in the spiritual life of a child. Because of her, I met Jesus and gave my life to Him. This has been the single most important decision I made. My gratitude increases as I realize that I know Jesus as Savior because my mother cared, not only for my education and my well-being, but for my spiritual needs as well.
On the eve of my mother’s ninetieth birthday, I celebrate that God chose her to be my mother.
To my mother with love and gratitude forever,