Last year, I posted a blog series in preparation for my Mom’s birthday. This year, I’m doing a follow-up. I’m not quite sure where the direction will go, but I have a lot of loose ends to tie together via writing. Let’s go.
When I think about our family dynamic, a lot of really ‘large’ topics come to mind; homeschooling, religion, cancer, being a large family, Columbus, OH, christian assembly, cars, people, pets, places, loss, love…
It hit me that I’ve spent a lot of time ‘looking back’ at the family history we have, rather than looking within the present moment and where it is that all of us have landed, as adults, in our lives.
Hineh ma tov uma na’im
Shevet achim gam yachad.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers and sisters to dwell together
A younger me may have thought the family bond, pressed heavily by our parents, was a ‘selfish’ act in order to have a more harmonious home. After all, what parent wouldn’t want their household to be a peaceful dwelling?
Yesterday, I took an Uber home and had the pleasure of meeting Irene, an Uber driver who was the proud mother of five girls. It was the first Uber minivan I’ve ever had as a pickup.
What I appreciated about Irene was her bold and liberated sense of freedom/energy. You could tell this woman was full of love – and an exceptional mother. She beamed with pride as she discussed the freedom and financial ability Uber gave her. “You can make $2,000 a week – you just have to hustle!” as we discussed the freedoms this new employment opportunity gave to people like Irene. $2,000 a week can send children to college…pay for clothing…afford the family a better/safer neighborhood, so their children don’t have to walk on glass and pavement when they step outside. It is life.
Irene reminded me of Roberta Plaat, my Mom, because of the sacrifice and time she exerted in order to provide for her kids. When love is what fuels you, you have energy and joy to sustain even the worst of inconveniences/pains, because you’re driven by love.
Looking back at my own mother, I have always wondered how she had the joy and energy to get through every single day. And, I realized that she is driven by a love for her children that goes beyond the limitations we place on ourselves.
The love our mother has for her children is limitless.
The wonderful thing about the power of love is that when it multiplies, it does so exponentially.
It dawned on me, earlier this year, that the desire to have my own children exists because I finally believe that I’m capable of being a wonderful father. And that my future children, rather than being ‘accidents’ and unwanted, will be so loved and provided for, that the end result of their life is their impact on the world as they grow up. This is the ultimate gift a parent gives, as they exchange their own life/priorities in order to raise up children.
There is no middle ground. A child being loved only 50% of the way will never flourish and prosper the way a child loved limitlessly will.
As an adult, I have to turn around and thank my mom for the gift of life she gave to every one of her children. I want her to know that for every tear of stress and pain I caused as a teenager has been replaced by tears of joy, gratitude, and appreciation from others as I’ve been able to touch, impact, and improve the lives of those I come in contact with.
I want her to know that for every gift and material possession she gave up in order to give to us, there have been countless others who have been beneficiaries of generosity, meals, time, money, and life – because I was provided the proper model of how to love and care for others.
Mom – thank you for investing your life into me, as well as all of the other children. I hope that as you enter another year of this life – as well as say goodbye to one that has passed with time – that you will walk in confidence knowing your children are an extension of the life you and Dad gave, and we are continuing on your legacy of love – with love for others – as well as for each of our siblings.
Featured Image From Deviantart