Early Mother’s Day Joy

Son Will (20) gave me an early Mother’s Day gift and invited me  along with him to Gesu Church downtown where he had a practice scheduled. Knowing my love of the old hymns and gospel songs, he played several for me. I can’t add much, because these old hymn tunes say it all to those who love them. One of my all time favorites is, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” which he played for me. I hope is blesses you, and if you know it, sing along.  Here are the words.

(Note: Another couple of hymns I will post in the comment section.)

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s a light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Refrain

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

We Are Their World

I was very young when I first became a mother. Little Charlie in all his vulnerability wrapped his little fingers around my heart, and I have never looked back to what life would have been without him or any of my six children.

There are so many happy joyful memories of being a mother. So many times of laughter and fun. But the true bonds of mother and child are developed in the difficult times, the worrisome times, when you are awake in the night feeling a feverish little body, and that grip of fear on your heart reminds you of how dear that child is to you.

My second son had severe asthma from six months onward. He was hospitalized over 30 times between six months and age 6, both in ER visits and usually for 2 to 3 day stays. He was allergic to almost everything environmentally, which made it especially difficult to get his wheezing under control. Every cold he had resulted in bronchospasms that would mean him having to be treated with IV steroids and various other drugs that were the latest in treatment to open his airways. He spent days on end on 7 North and 7 South, the asthma wards at that time. We knew all the nurses, and we watched the seasons change there.

There are so many memories of holding him hooked up to the various monitors, worrying and praying for him, trying to keep his time there positive and happy.  He still remembers me bringing the red and white striped bags from the gift shop with a small surprise for him each time. It was a tradition for us. He remembers the bins of toys I’d bring in from the play room and getting to watch children’s TV, something he usually didn’t get to do at home.

Sam is a husband and father of three children himself now. Nearly 30 years old. But he told me that he has no negative memories from those hospitalizations, despite the papoose boards used to restrain him for IV’s, the endless breathing treatments, and horrible tasting medicines and misery. To me, that said so much about children and mothering. He remembers the love and care, and me nearby, always nearby trying to sleep on the small couch, because I couldn’t leave him alone at night in case he felt scared and needed me.

I had to leave the hospital once for several hours to go home and take care of some things. I was gone longer than intended, and getting off the elevator that evening, I saw a nurse pulling Sammy in a small wagon down the hall. His look was one of utter dejection. He was slumped in the wagon, looking sad. As the wagon approached the nurses station, he looked up to see me. I’ll never forget the look of sheer joy in his eyes. His arms flew up for me to hug him. Mom was back. His world was OK again.

I remember that all these years later, because it showed me how important moms are to their children. We are their world. Our choices and decisions have a direct impact on their well-being and happiness. It’s a sobering thing.

So many mothers struggle, and I understand that with all my heart. I was a single parent at the time with a world of burdens on my shoulders.  Those mothers who have no support and help or who are dealing with counter-parents rather than co-parents carry unbelievable loads.  Those who continue to love their children, day in and day out, and who try to give their children the best they can in spite of circumstances are true heroes. I think of these moms on Mother’s Day.

My adult son told me something recently that I’ll always carry with me. He said, “I always remember the feeling of being safe with you, Mom.” Isn’t that what we strive for? That , come what may, in this broken and often bleak world, our children have a safe refuge with us. No matter the housing, the financial situation, or any other negative in their lives, they are safe with Mom–a mother who believes them, protects them, cherishes them to the best of her ability.  Creating that safe zone is the work of all mothers. If our children remember that, we have done our jobs well.

Thanks to my Mother, Freda Eliason

As mothers we are faced with all kinds of circumstances in raising our children. There are stresses and challenges that nobody else may see. The burden of caring for another human being or multiple other human beings, in all areas of need is difficult to express. Yet love carries us through. We don’t see it as some terrible weight we have to carry. It’s our child, those are our children. Our happiness is tied up with their well-being. You can’t separate the two things.

I remember realizing this when my firstborn son, Charlie, became sick over and over again his first winter from a stomach virus he was contracting in the church nursery. (I didn’t make the connection as quickly as I should have!) Until Charlie was well, my world came to a total standstill. As a young mother, I rejoiced over every bottle he took, every spoonful he ate when he was sick. Life stopped being about me completely. When he was hospitalized with the illness, I was literally sick with worry. This other life, this sweet boy, was all that mattered to me.

This Mother’s Day, I remember the sacrifices of my own dear mother in caring for me and my brother and sister. Without the sacrifices and incredible labor of this woman, the ministry of VCY America would never have been possible. Most have no idea what Mom went through to both raise three children and bring her own constant service to the ministry her husband began. She served above and beyond the call of duty. Largely unrecognized and un-thanked, God has seen all that she has done and why. The reward for her faithfulness will be great.

So thank you, Mom, for everything. Everything I know about loving my children has come through the hands and heart of my mother. Most of all, she has pointed us Godward from the time we were very young.

Two weeks after my dad died in December, Mom underwent triple bypass surgery and has been recovering since. All of us pray for her continued strength and for the joy and love she has given all of us to be returned to her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there, and to those who have recently lost a mother, may her memory be a blessing to you.

mountrushmore69

Night Watch

childsleepingredondoWhen I can’t sleep at night I make my way to my favorite seat in the house, Emmy’s rocking chair. Tom bought it for me before she was born. When trying out upholstered rockers, I knew instantly that this was the one. The back is wonderfully soft and comes up high enough that you can lay your head back. Also, the arms are low enough to be comfortable, a rare thing to find in rockers. It’s a glider with a footstool, and often the rocking is so smooth that I can doze off in that wonderful chair.

The other night I tucked Em in bed, and she took my hand. “I know that sometimes you come in here and rock in my chair,” she said. “It makes me happy.”

I hadn’t realized that she was aware of my presence in the dead hours of night, but she was. Children without close siblings or any siblings don’t know the comfort of having someone near at hand when there are shadows on the wall or when bad dreams frighten. When I was little, I had my little sister close by. When we were small, we had a double bed, and there was absolutely nothing more comforting than to feel my warm little sister by my back at night. We shared our secret plans for playing the next day and all our sisterly secrets. When she was near, all was well.

Charlie and Sammy were the same way. When they were small, I moved to a duplex with three bedrooms, the third being a perfectly-sized little room for my three-year-old, Sammy. I bought a twin bed and set it up for him with a cowboy bedspread, thinking he’d like having his own little place. But every morning, I kept finding either Charlie curled up on Sammy’s bed or Sammy curled up on Charlie’s bed. They didn’t care about having their own space. They wanted the comfort of having each other nearby at night. So I got a double bed for Charlie’s room, and they were pleased as punch to be back in the same cozy bedroom.

I read an article once about a movie celebrity who had two young children. She had a huge house in New England, and there was an accompanying photo spread of the luxury bedrooms fitted out by a famous designer. But one line in particular in the story caught my eye. It was beneath a photo of a tiny bedroom at the top of the house with twin beds in it, a very simple place. “For some reason, they only want to sleep up here in this small room,” said the star. “They like it here.”

No amount of money can buy the sense of cozy, of having someone nearby at night. I can’t provide a little sister for Emmy, but she seems comforted to know that occasionally, her mother is there in the dark, rocking quietly, watching over her.

“Remember, Mama,” she often says to me. “If you can’t sleep, you can always rock in my chair…”

With Mother’s Day approaching, I think that’s what I want all six of my children to remember most: That I am there for them always, even if I’m out of sight, that I am loving them, concerned for them, always wanting the best for them. Nothing matters to me more than that as a mom. Whatever else I do in life, it’s nothing if my children don’t know they have my forever love. It’s unconditional. I have had children  hurt me,  make decisions that I don’t agree with.  It doesn’t matter. They are not clones of me. All but one is a legal adult now.  One thing will not change: As long as I live, I will be there in that metaphorical rocker in the dark, loving them.

I saw an old poem recently. This is the last stanza in honor of Mother’s Day.

…Mother, dear mother, the years have been long
Since I last listened your lullaby song:
Sing, then, and unto my soul it shall seem
Womanhood’s years have been only a dream.
Clasped to your heart in a loving embrace,
With your light lashes just sweeping my face,
Never hereafter to wake or to weep;—      
Rock me to sleep, mother, – rock me to sleep!

~ Elizabeth Akers Allen

On Mothers – A Few Quotes

With Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are a few quotes I have enjoyed on the subject of motherhood. Both as a mother of six children, three of which are grown, two of which are nearly grown, and a preschooler (!), and as a grandmother of two (the second one is to arrive, Lord willing, in September), and also as a daughter, I have many thoughts on the topic of motherhood that are touched on by these quotes.

 

mother1

 

 

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.  – George Herbert

I long to put the experience of fifty years at once into your young lives, to give you at once the key of that treasure chamber every gem of which has cost me tears and struggles and prayers, but you must work for these inward treasures yourselves.  – Harriet Beecher Stowe

My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” ― Jodi Picoult

I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother. ― Martha Gellhorn

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. ― Abraham Lincoln

A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones.  ― Kristin Hannah

Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. ― Debra Ginsberg

Mother, I love you so, said the child. I love you more than I know. She laid her head on her mother’s arm, and the love between them kept them warm. – Stevie Smith

Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.” ― Ambrose Bierce

Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you. ― Louisa May Alcott, Jo’s Boys

Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved. ― Kate Samperi

 

mother2

 

 

Gilbert put his arm about them. ‘Oh, you mothers!’ he said. ‘You mothers! God knew what He was about when He made you. ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

This is what we do, my mother’s life said. We find ourselves in the sacrifices we make. ― Cammie McGovern

The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlet here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter. ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. – Henry Ward Beecher

Most all other beautiful things in life come come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world. – Kate Douglas Wiggin

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. – Honore de Blazac

 

Redo1

 

 

A man never sees all that his mother has been to him until it’s too late to let her know he sees it. – William Dean Howells

No matter how old a mother is, she still watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. – Florida Scott Maxwell

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces that she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan

A mom holds the hands of her children for a little while but holds their hearts forever. – Author unknown  

 

mountrushmore691

Mother’s Day Album

My sister and her family and my mother came over to celebrate Mother’s Day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and a lovely time was had by all. My niece, Anna, captured the nice photo of Emmy with my oldest son, Charlie. My bookends, I call them. First and last!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My Mother

Who gave me life? My mother.
Who first showed me love? My mother.
Who first breathed the name of Jesus in prayer over my head before I could form a word? My mother.
Who showed me the love of God in every act of tenderness and care? My mother.
Who taught me Bible verses as soon as I could talk? My mother.
Who sought to live out those verses in front of us? My mother.
Who taught me right from wrong and corrected sinful behavior? My mother.
Who wore out a Bible story book reading out the marvels of God’s mighty hand? My mother.
Who gave of herself constantly and poured all she had into her three children? My mother.
Who taught me mother-love for my own children? My beautiful mother.

I honor my mother, Freda, today who through many difficult circumstances and through the wearying and complex maze of this life shows the reality of her faith and shows Christ to her children and grandchildren and soon, their children.

We all love you, Mom and call you blessed!

Her children arise up, and call her blessed. ~ Proverbs 31:28a