By Jennifer Richardson
My mother is the stuff of fairy tales. She is the quintessential I-don’t-have-enough-socks-to-fill-those-shoes mom.
She can arrange flowers, bake and decorate cakes, keep a beautiful home, easily host a dinner for sixty guests, and clean circles around anyone half her age. She is known as someone of renowned hospitality and people come from far and wide for her cooking.
My father is in his 6th decade of marriage with my mother, and he readily admits she has made his life what it is today. When asked what his favorite color is, he is known to say, the color of your mother’s eyes.
One of her beautiful traits is the ability to remain calm, accepting, and supportive when people around her make choices she might not make. She has the capacity to separate the person from their choice and love them regardless.
Consistency and reliability are her hallmarks. There are things she would never do, and there are things she will always do, and you can count on it.
Character and contentment shines through her life. Honesty, ethics, and a strong set of personal values are the foundation of her decisions. Her quiet example has changed more lives than any judgmental lecture could have accomplished.
Her heart is open to people she loves, and the people they love. Over the years many of my friends have enjoyed my mom’s welcoming care and treatment simply because they are people I have treasured.
A new life is always a cause for rejoicing in my mom’s heart. She gave birth to six children and looked forward to each one as soon as she knew they were expected. She is delighted to hear a grandchild is on the way, and she looks at every new life as a gift.
As a person who had three babies in three and a half years, I can attest to the encouragement it is to have someone in your corner who is thrilled when another family member makes their appearance.
She is a person of perspective and wisdom. It is common to hear her say…this too shall pass. She is not overcome with emotion and her resiliency is born from her understanding that strength comes from within. No matter what is shaking around her, her circumstances do not dictate her inner self.
Graciousness is her calling card. She respects her husband, even when her opinion differs from his. If asked about it, she would laugh and tell you that fifty-plus years together provides many opportunities to disagree, however the person is more important than the discussion. One thing is certain, you never hear her proclaiming to the world that her side of the story is the right one even when it is.
Commitment to her family is evident and inspirational. She plans and provides family dinners, holiday celebrations, and opportunities for group travel and experiences. She knows the value of tradition and family identity, and she puts in the time and effort to nurture them.
She is forward-thinking. She knows that people remember how you made them feel, and how you were involved in their lives. This awareness has inspired her to offer her presence and assistance at an endless list of parties, graduations, baby showers, athletic events, spelling bees, school plays, and weddings.
At the root of it all is a humble concern for others. She is interested in how people feel, what they need, and how she can help. She wants the world to be a better place because she lived a life within it. She is simply a woman to be admired and emulated.
I was discussing her superior qualities with her years ago when I was a young mother. I acknowledged the discouragement I sometimes felt when I held my life up to hers and found I didn’t measure up. Could I ever really be like her?
She smiled in her lovely way, and thanked me for the compliment. She said honey, you are doing fine, no one becomes themselves overnight. She told me life happens one choice at a time. She assured me that every step I take leads toward something, and she encouraged me to keep my eyes on my destination and always take steps in that direction.
Someone made a comment to me recently about sharing some qualities with my mom. It was an amazing compliment and just sat there and let it wash over me. I know I have not filled her shoes, but thanks to her encouragement and example I know that getting there is possible if I just keep walking in the right direction.