A little kid found himself lost and wide-eyed in the lingerie department of a store.
Blinking a little, he asked a clerk where he could buy a slip for his mom. “What's her size?” the clerk wondered. He didn't have a clue. She asked if he could describe her—was she fat, thin, short, or tall?
“Well,” the little guy smiled, “she's just about perfect.”
He went home with a size 32. A few days later, his mother was back to exchange the gift. She needed a size 52.
I'm a little like that kid. My mom made her share of mistakes, but as I celebrate the first Mother's Day without her around, I'd like to tell you four reasons she was just about perfect.
She loved life's surprises. When I was born, Mom was 39. Ladies on our block whispered about her in front of her back. One was bold enough to ask her what in the world she was doing having a child when her biological clock was blinking midnight. But I can't count the times Mom told me how thankful she was for me. Over and over she said, “I don't know what I'd do without you.” She accepted life's surprises as part of God's plan for her.
She spanked me. One day she gave me money to buy her a newspaper. I decided it would be better spent on black licorice. “A big guy grabbed me and stole the money,” I told her, lying through my teeth, forgetting that they were black as coal. I could fool some of the people most of the time, but I could never fool my mother.
Thankfully her heart was never really in those spankings—they really did hurt her more than me—but from her I learned that life would hold painful rewards if I didn't obey higher laws than my own.
She loved my dad. Within a few months of buying a DVD player at a store that rhymes with MalDart, it quit (the DVD player, not the store). I returned it and discovered that the replacement part cost more than a brand new machine. “We don't fix 'em,” the Customer Service person informed me. “It's not worth it.”
That's our culture. If it's broke, trash it. If your marriage isn't working, pack it in.
The truth is, Ramona and I fought like two cougars in a duffel bag the first few years of our marriage. If she'd have had a warranty, I'd have probably traded her in. But 28 fabulous years later I thank God for the example of a mom and dad who hung in there and made their marriage work. It was among the best gifts Mom ever gave me.
She listened to my music. Almost every night I would invite her into my room and play her the latest rock and roll. We listened to everything from ABBA to Chuck Girard and Phil Keaggy. Sometimes I explained the lyrics (apparently she couldn't hear them). I'm sure it sounded like someone trying to vacuum a cat, but she cared enough to listen. And she encouraged me when she heard something praiseworthy.
While many of my friends heard only, “Turn it down, turn it off, or throw it out!” I was privileged to have a mother whose attitude was, “If he's going to listen, I'd like to know what he's listening to.”
I miss those days. I miss my hearing. And my memory isn't as sharp as it once was. But my memories are fabulous. All because of a godly mother who took the time.
Well done, Mom. How immeasurably great is the influence of those who care.