My amazing mother gave birth to and nursed 12 children. If she had sat on the couch and napped for 20 years, it would have been understandable, but she did not. She got up and worked. She played. She sang songs, and she told stories. She brought and continues to bring a sense of life, energy, and adventure to nearly everything she does, and it is one of the greatest gifts she has ever given me.
As a child, we spent a lot of time on the road. Whether it was a family trip to visit national parks or a holiday visit to Grandma’s house, we spent many long hours in a hot, crowded van. My mother was always armed with a book or three to read to us on the way. Her voice led us into Narnia, had us biting our nails at Blackbird’s Pond, and left us contemplating time and it’s potential wrinkles. She marched us through battles, carried us overseas, and introduced us to worlds both real and mystical.
My mother taught us to climb mountains. We hiked to see arches, lakes, and waterfalls. We rambled to collect wildflowers, search for critters, and select Christmas trees. We walked, and we walked, and then we stopped when she called on us to pause, look, and enjoy the view.
I remember my extremely modest mother wearing mostly dresses during my childhood, but she was never too proper to have fun. She may have worn knee length shorts and a full button down shirt to the water park, but they did not stop her from charging down the zip line or taking on the big water slides with her boys. She was always willing to stand with us, behind a line, and compete to see who could spit watermelon seeds the farthest, and when she was not fast enough to block one of us from getting to the basketball hoop, she shamelessly cheated by pulling us in for a giggling, bear hug.
My mother is a musician. She can play any song on the piano, and she knew a tune to sing for every occasion. We danced to her playing, twirling until we were dizzy. Her singing put us to sleep, made us laugh, and just as often made us cry. She sang stories. She sang them first, and then asked us to join her while she sang them again.
My mother is a storyteller. Any chore was doable if my mom was nearby weaving grand tales. I lost count of the times she told us about the Three Little Pigs. It was one of her favorites. The story was new and different every single time, and we waited on her every sentence. Often she was so exhausted that her words would slow, and die away. We would poke her awake, commanding her to finish the story. She would, until she fell asleep again.
My mother taught me to work, HARD. She pushed me to learn. She asked me to pray. Throughout it all, she played with me. She showed me that happiness was only one good attitude away. She taught me to bring joy into everything that I do. She taught me to live. She taught me to love, and I do.
Top photography generously provided by Poppies & Posies Photography.