Mom went to be with Jesus almost a year ago. This is my first Mother’s Day without her here. Emotions are already a little close to the surface, and then the other night hit. This might sound like the start to a sad blog, but stick with me.
For Christmas, my sister took on an amazing labor of love, and made pillows out of some of my mom’s shirts for her siblings, nieces and nephews. We all love these, including my youngest, who has gone to bed hugging it many nights. He also likes to smell the pillow, as it reminds him of my mom – his “NaliMa”.
The other night, as Sara was about to leave his room, I heard him start crying, and the tears just kept on coming. Through his tears, I heard him say, “Her smell is gone.” Yeah, those “close to the surface” emotions broke through – for Joshua, and for his daddy.
During this stretch – Mother’s Day and then Mom’s one-year anniversary of meeting Jesus face-to-face (on May 16th) – I think all of us who love Mom have our own ways of remembering her. Whether it’s smell, pictures, videos, or just thinking back on countless memories, there is much to remind us of how amazing she was.
For me, one of the biggest memories is what she told me back when I was in Junior High. Mom often wore this striking red lipstick. She made a bit of a sport out of planting a kiss on our cheek, and there remained the mark of the red lipstick. One time, she did that when I was about to see some friends. If you’ve known a 13-year-old boy, you can imagine my reaction.
I started rubbing off that lipstick as fast as I could. And then came those words from Mom – “Brad, you don’t rub off your Mama’s kisses. You rub them IN!“
So that’s what I started doing. I wouldn’t swipe at my cheek, but I would gently rub those kisses in.
And as I grew, I learned in even greater ways how important that idea was – not just with the red lipstick, but with the life lessons my mom was teaching me. These weren’t just lessons when I was young. These were lessons being taught until the very day she left this earth. And even incredibly valuable lessons since.
My mom taught me so many things. She modeled generosity, she exemplified unconditional love, and she taught me how to treat others like Jesus would. She taught me integrity, the importance of looking at issues from all angles, and the essential of standing for what is right, even if others don’t love when you do.
The things Mom taught me could honestly fill many books, as I know is true with many who were blessed to know her. But when it’s all said and done, I am forever grateful that this young, immature boy learned early on to not rub off Mom’s lessons, but to rub them in. Sure, some took longer to sink in, and some I’m still learning, but her life-well-lived has made me a better husband, father, servant, leader and friend.
So, as we deal with the sadness of not having Mom here, and as I help walk my children through the days of her ‘smell’ being gone, I am so grateful that I have what truly matters. I can now share with the next generation the countless things Mom taught me, and can love them like she loved me…like Jesus.
“Her children arise and call her blessed…” (Proverbs 31:28)
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30)
“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)