“When you become a mother, you stop being the picture and start being the frame.” ~ Unknown
Today is Mother’s Day and also the birthday of the third woman, born in May, who impacted my life in a significant way.
This young woman is beautiful, articulate and adventuresome in spirit. Tiny in stature, demure-looking to the world, but if you invoke her anger, watch out because she possesses a fiery, feisty and very passionate side.
Intelligent, but not in a nerdy way, she has compassion for those less fortunate than herself, which is why she volunteers regularly at a soup kitchen mission, encourages a young underprivileged girl as her “big sister” in the Big Brother/Big Sister program and has served others on mission trips.
And oh, does she love to travel to exciting places! She’s ventured to a majority of the United States and experienced trips abroad to France, England, South Africa, Mozambique, and Honduras. If she acquired enough financing, she would travel all over the world because visiting every continent is inscribed on her bucket list.
Her highly organized style makes her a keeper of lists – lists of things to do, lists of adventures to take, lists of things she’s accomplished, lists of ordinary occurrences. Her talents include singing (although she does so quietly) and playing piano beautifully with gusto and emotion.
She understands complex molecular biology yet has a knack for writing with humor and insight, and she loves country line dancing. She owns an outrageous sense of humor and provides family and friends with lots of laughs. (Ask her if gullible is written on the ceiling – sorry, that’s an inside joke.)
She loves God first and her family second, and probably her cat ranks third on that list followed by her friends. And sunflowers are her favorite flowers. I know this young woman so well because she is my daughter, my first-born child.
My daughter and I bonded long before she actually entered this world. While her military daddy was stationed across the globe, she, as a tiny baby developing in my womb, helped me stay focused during the time hubby and I were apart.
My life centered completely on hers during that time. To ensure her health, I concentrated on mine and consumed nothing that wasn’t healthy even abandoning my beloved tea for decaffeinated.
I talked to her each day as she squirmed and performed somersaults inside of me. I wrote daily letters to her daddy describing preparations for the new life that would be joining ours.
When her tiny foot or knee or fist protruded and formed a knot on the outside of my abdomen, I caressed that spot with my fingers to assure her Mama loved her. I knew music would play an important role in her life because she “danced” each time I played piano and stopped immediately when the music halted.
One Saturday night, after many hours of labor, my oldest daughter emerged as a tiny, delicate mixed version of myself and my hubby and presented herself to me as my Mother’s Day gift. Born less than an hour before Mother’s Day arrived, my little one gave me the gift of motherhood in time for the holiday.
Every single concern or doubt I fretted over about becoming a mother totally evaporated when that amazing little baby girl was placed in my arms. In that moment and in the years to come, I finally understood the meaning of unconditional love.
No matter what she or her younger sister and brother may have done, I neither would nor could ever stop loving my children. Becoming a mother gave me insight into how God loves us without condition.
“The mother love is like God’s love; he loves us not because we are lovable, but because it is His nature to love, and because we are His children.” ~ Earl Riney
As I reminisce on this Mother’s Day about all the years I’ve spent as a mother, I realize I never could have accomplished this task without God’s guidance, without prayer, without the understanding of a mother’s ferociously intense love for her child. And I’m hopeful that I’ve done my very best with the lessons I have learned in motherhood. I agree with Ruth Bell Graham when she said: “As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.”
So as I celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday in my book of Opportunity, Chapter 5, Page 8, I give praise and thankfulness to the One who gave me the gift of life first, then blessed me with the gift of motherhood, not just once but three times.
Happy Birthday, my dearest Oldest Daughter! Thank you for teaching me to be the frame for your beautiful picture! May your day be blessed with the knowledge that you are loved beyond comprehension by God and by your mother.