Mamma, Mumsie, Mother, Mom,
Words do little to adequately describe our gratitude. Thank you for seeing us, caring for us, conquering many things to fight for us, and for your abundant love. We are strong because you taught us how to be. We hope we can be like you when we grow up.
The Refined Woman Team
When I was little I loved it when my mom would get in the pool with us and pretend to be an alligator. She’d sink down so her face was partially submerged, and slowly move toward me and my brother as we backed away in pretend terror. It’s one of my favorite memories… I can see her lovely smile, and almost feel her grabbing my hands or feet under the water. What’s really fun is sometimes she still does it, and it always ends in a lot of laughter.
As a child I took her playful heart for granted, but as an adult I can see that my mom has the gift of lightness. She brightens every space she enters, and when you leave her presence you feel cared for, hopeful, a little bit lighter.
My mom doesn’t take herself too seriously, and is usually up for a game, a puzzle, a mystery or an adventure. She loves to learn, and delights in little things. I enjoy walking around the yard with her to see how the flowers and plants are progressing, and hearing about what she’s going to plant next. I’m inspired by her authentic sense of wonder at God’s creation. I love that she still flirts with my dad, after 50 years of marriage. And I look forward to hearing her latest story about whatever mischief the cats have gotten into.
I used to wish I looked more like my mom, on the outside. Her features are more refined than mine, and I especially love her jawline and cheekbones. These days, though, I hope to look more like her on the inside, and I pray her legacy of lightness will live in me!
I was born in a town known for its locomotive traffic, and heard the shrill, warning whistle of countless passing trains before leaving the hospital as a 2-day-old baby. Trains and railroads are woven into most memorable moments of my life—from living near tracks in my childhood home to friendships made and heartbreaks nursed on late night railroad walks as a young adult. But each time I see a train, it’s my mother who first comes to mind.
Trains and railroad tracks were how my unconventional mother taught me about the messy beauty of imperfection, grace and carrying on.
“My job as your mother,” she used to say, “is to help you learn to think about where you are going and then how to lay your own tracks for your train to run on.”
“But here’s the hardest part,” she always added. “In life, you’re going to derail. You’re going to fall off your tracks, no matter how great that plan was. You will find yourself in the ditch. Getting out is what’s hard.”
She would go on to explain that staying perfectly on track sounds nice, but a strong and beautiful life isn’t made by following a plan or vision perfectly, but by learning to recover from a fall. It’s about how I treat myself and others when I fall off the tracks, and about choosing to get back on those steel tracks and slowly build momentum again. And again. And again. And again…
This is what Mom told me through words when I was girl, and what she shows me through her support each time I derail as a woman.
Every night she made a home made meal for us. It didn’t matter what was going on, we were expected to be at the dinner table at 6:00p.m. After beginning to pass the food she’d ask, ‘now who wants to talk about the best part of their day?’. We’d roll our eyes as we passed the homemade mashed potatoes.
One by one we’d take turns, and by the end of it we’d all be laughing and telling stories. Back then it seemed so normal–even annoying at times to have to leave a friends house to go home for dinner.
Now I look back and see the incredible gift my mother gave us all. She created a safe space for us to let our walls down and connect as a family. She selflessly made a meal from scratch every day often times without being thanked for it.
I’m humbled by her commitment to us, our family, and brining us together. To this day when I’m around a table with people I ask, ‘now who wants to talk about their day?‘ I love you mom and hope I can be like you when I grow up!
Beauty doesn’t ask for permission…. It just is. While I think my mom is physically beautiful, I never perceived the source of her beauty to be looks. As the receiver of her love, time, and words, I’m left in awe of my mother. She’s held nothing back, never waiting for someone else to take the first step in a relationship. Beauty pursues people unrelentlessly. Mom has experienced her fair share of push back from her three daughters; she acknowledges the piercing pain it causes her heart.
As I’ve grown closer to my mom with age, I have seen how her conviction and boldness has propelled her to speak truth in love despite the rejection. Whether she falls in or out of favor with people, Mom extends herself and closes the gap. Her unrestrained nature radiates from her, and people can’t help but be drawn to her. As her daughter, I’m challenged in how I relate to others; I’ve seen beauty, and I know it’s most evident in our relationships.