5/11/07

Mother's Day 2007: My Mom, Millie!

My son, Elliot, asked me this morning how it feels to be called Mom. That question pierced my heart as I looked into his blue eyes and answered him. I love his teenage sensibility and questions that go deep. I love the way he puts his arms around me and gives me a kiss on the cheek. (Photo above: me and Mom on my wedding day 1991. I still remember that kiss!)

The past few days my thoughts seem to be turning toward the memory of my Mom, Millie. I think about her almost daily.

Mom, as I called her, had such a gentle spirit. On her birthday every year, friends came out of the woodwork, as she would get a slew of cards in the mail and come home from work with a trunk-load of gifts.

I always tell my daughter and her friends: Friends are like a bouquet of flowers. The more you have, the more beautiful your life will be. That is the life my Mom lived.

Even though Mom was very serious at times, deep down inside she had a great sense of humor and loved to be teased.

My earliest memories of her are that she was always there. (Photo to left: my family in1969, I am the youngest.) I especially noticed when I would come home from school in the afternoon. The house was rarely empty. She fixed us breakfast in the morning (we use to tease her about her coffee breath), and sent us girls out to get on the school bus. (Mom would wrap her beehive hair-do with toilet paper each night to protect it from getting messed up. It looked the same for about a week!)

She loved life: God, Dad, her family, her garden and friends, children, her church and showing hospitality. (Photo to right: Dad and Mom early 90s.)

It is from this woman that I got my talent for cooking, canning, freezing and how to put a meal on the table. She had such a way of timing her dinners just right, where all the dishes would be placed on the table at the same time. She’d throw a roast in the oven on a Sunday morning and invite people over after church. 

The meal did not have to be perfect, and what really mattered to Mom was to have not only the popular people over, but also sometimes the people who didn’t have a place to go.

That was a true lesson of hospitality for her 3 daughters. Mom showed us how to play hostess!

She cared. She cared deeply about people and she prayed for them. She was one of those people who could enter a room and never make a sound, but when she left the room, her absence was noticeable. She really was the catalyst in our family. (Photo below: Dad's birthday January 1997, the year Mom passed away.)

Mom was special, but she was not perfect. I know that underneath her quiet calmness there were feelings in her heart that she didn’t share with people. She was very private. And in her last couple of years of life when cancer was calling her name, she made it very clear to God and her family that she did not want to leave this world. She was torn. She loved so deeply, that it was a very confusing time for her.

Mom’s impact lives on in my life. I want to think that if she were here today she would be such a good friend. I always tell my kids “if Grandma were here, she would be so crazy about you!” (Photo to left: me and Mom at one of my bridal showers 1991.)

Mom was a planter of Godly seeds, but she died before she saw the complete harvest. The desire was always in my heart to make her proud of me. I believe she would have been. Without a lot of fanfare, she taught me how to care about my family first of all, to believe that Mothering was the most important role I’d ever have, a real life’s calling. She never told me these words; she just lived it in a way that revealed the truth about it.

Mom would be overjoyed today to know that her daughters love God with a passion. Through her love and teaching of hospitality, we have taken those gifts a step further. And now her grandchildren are cultivating those gifts to pass down to their children. (Photo to right: Millie's great-grandson, Gavin)

I recently read that, “Grief changes shape, but it never ends.” I believe that. The intensity of my loss has decreased over time, but the loss is still there. I don’t always understand it but I have grown through it. (Above photo: Mom and her only 2 granddaughters, Kayla & Abby, 4 months before she died.)

Thank you Mom, for a life well lived.

Mom went to heaven 10 years ago this year. Several women have been tremendous role models to me the last 10 years, loving me as a daughter and impacting my life. Aunt Ellen, Jeannie, Dee, Faye, Ginny and Hoppi: my family is blessed because of you.

Happy Mother's Day!

22 comments:

momrn2 said...

What a wonderfully beautiful tribute! I wish I could have met her. :-)

Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

Sandy, been thinking of Aunt Millie often this Spring! Thanks for making her memory fresh for me again and more insite to the beautiful woman she was. That is evident in her 3 beautiful (inside and out)daughters! Have a wonderful Mother's Day! I love you bunches! Angela

La Tea Dah said...

Thank you for sharing the touching tribute to your mother with us. I know it was probably difficult to put all your feelings into words. I lost my mother to cancer 2 1/2 years ago --- and my mother-in-law (also to cancer) 5 years ago. I understand the void that takes place when a mother is gone. I also realize the blessing of mother's example and teachings. That part goes on through us, our children, our grandchildren, and so on.

Happy Mother's Day to you!

Christine said...

Such a wonderful tribute to your mom. She was truly a gift.

A Woman Who is: said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog with your lovely comments. I really enjoyed reading your tribute to your precious mom. I lost my dear mom to cancer 18 years ago this spring. I too gain so much from my mother’s examples in the areas of mothering, hospitality, friendship, and taking care of a home. I inherited my green thumb from my grandmother though. I will be back, entertaining, cooking, and travel to England, these are a few of my favorite things ;>)

Momma Roar said...

What a very sweet tribute! My mom's name is Millie, too. Have a wonderful mother's day!

Melissa R. Garrett said...

Sandy ~ what a wonderful homage to your mother! I was in tears!

Happy Mother's Day to YOU!

Julie said...

Oh Sandy,
What a lovely tribute to a loving and generous woman. You were truly blessed to have such a mom!

Happy Mother's Day to you! I hope you get the clothesline you asked for. Even more importantly, I hope it comes with a coupon for help in using it every week!

Joy said...

That was beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. Your mother would be so proud of you. :)

Anonymous said...

Sandy,
I loved your mom too.... it's hard to believe it has been 10 years. You wrote a lovely tribute to her and you're right, she would be crazy about the kids! Especially Abs who looks just like both of you! Karol

Barb said...

You definitely have the Millie Mothering thing down perfectly yourself, my dear! You learned well! I luv Gavin's hair! His mom is obviously a cool-hair expert!

Rhoda said...

Sandy, that was such a wonderful memory of your mom....thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts about her & about mothering & what it means to us. My mom sounds a lot like yours...she is such a calm & gentle spirit & everyone loves her. She has always cooked & invited people over when we were growing up too...we never knew who would share our pastor's table. She just turned 79 & is still going pretty strong & I know I must cherish the time we have left together. I know I will have a huge hole in my heart when I do finally lose her...I pray it will be many more years.

You & your mom sure do look a lot alike. Loved the photos! Thanks, Sandy for your heart-warming posts.

Rhoda
Southern Hospitality

Bettsi said...

Your mother sounds lovely, Sandy. I think you inherited her lovely ways and her good looks! It's been almost 5 years since cancer claimed my mom. It is a very big hole in the heart. Like you, my grief changes, but never leaves. Thanks for such a beautiful tribute.

Nadine said...

Your tribute touched me deeply. I lost my dad to cancer over 18 years ago and your quote, "Grief changes shape, but it never ends" is so true. I still miss my dad and I know my mom does to. Seems like your mom was extraordinary for raised such a lovely daugther.

Happy Mother's Day.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Beautiful tribute!

Happy Mother's Day!

Debi said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom...she has obviously passed on so much to you...the love of people and serving them....and wow...do you ever look like her too! Happy Mother's Day, Sandy.

Leigh Ann said...

What a wonderful post, Sandy. You truly did honor your mother in writing this and how you live your life.

I've been sick and then busy catching up. Your trip sounded so blissful. Thanks for sharing the photos and stories.

Cheers! LA xo

Jill Norwood said...

What a wonderful memory of your mother. I loved reading this. I know you miss her terribly.

willzmom said...

Beautiful tribute to your Mother. She must have been a special woman to have such a wonderful daughter.

Elizabeth said...

You sure do look like your beautiful mother! Happy Mother's Day, Sandy! Thank you for the inspiring window into the lovely life of your mother.

annewithane65 (Kim) said...

Sandy, what a lovely tribute to your dear Mom! I understand what you mean about grief and loss...I lost my own dear Mom 17 years ago.

Diane said...

Sandy, thank you for sharing your heart with us and writing such a loving tribute to your Mom. I agree, your quote: “Grief changes shape, but it never ends.” is certainly correct. Those of us that have lost someone special can identifly with the void that is left in our souls. I was 14 when the Lord called my Mom home, and I still feel deep grief at times. God bless you as you carry on the lessons you learned from her, within the framework of your own family. Thanks for sharing, Diane