“Every child is one caring adult away from being a success story.” – Josh Shipp

Mom loved kids. Little ones, big ones, it didn’t matter, she loved them all. Sometimes you would think otherwise, because she was kinda mean. Well, a little more than kinda. She was mean. But she was only mean when she was stressed or under pressure, I’m sure. I guess we’re all bent that way, if you think about it.

My sister and I were talking just the other day about the time Mom drove all of the birthday slumber party girls home in the middle of the night because she wasn’t putting up with little girls fighting.  Or there were the times when a grandchild would say something inappropriate in her home and man oh man, the LOOK came out of her face. Or when a certain grateful writer marked up all of her sister’s dolls with black magic marker, with the help of the neighbor girl down the street, and Mom banned the neighbor girl from ever coming over again.

But there were countless times Mom loved on the rowdy junior high boys and moody girls, and a baby or little one could not pass her in a hallway at church without getting squeezed tightly with a hug, and again – she had more pictures of her grandchildren and had to share every detail of their spectacular talents. She was so proud of her “kids,” and they were all “her kids.”

For as long as I remember her, Mom was teaching Sunday School and helping with kids’ activities. When Violet and Josephine didn’t or couldn’t, Mom took on Children’s Church. And Vacation Bible School.

When grandchildren came along, no wall or refrigerator front was spared. Every garage sale picture frame was filled. Her Hallmark checkbook calendar was marked up thoroughly with penciled in dates of birthdays and school programs, ballgames and recitals.

She could hold a baby for HOURS. She knew how to jiggle and move just right, so that a baby would hush and feel surrounded with love and protection and nurture. She made snowman pancakes and homemade play-dough and could garage sale with grandkids all morning long. She would clear out an entire closet just to store empty toilet paper tubes and buttons and glue and ribbons and crayons and paper doilies and construction paper and googly eyes. She brought home any leftover paper and office supplies from her jobs because they would come in handy for kids who happened to come over and needed to play “office” while their parents visited. She insisted that every kid in the world needed to see Ginger and the puppets and would load up a car with any who would take her up on her offer.

She volunteered to coordinate the Angel Tree Network at church, she substitute taught, she and Dad took in a foreign-exchange student when Nadine had nowhere else to go but back home, she was a huge part of inmates’ lives at the penitentiary just being a “mom” figure and listening to their stories.

And this is just some of what Mom did with the time she really didn’t have to spare. She needed to be needed, and kids needed her. Little ones, big ones, it didn’t matter, she loved them all.

I am grateful for a wonderful example to follow.

I am grateful that my Mom took that deep desire to be needed and used it to bless others.

I am grateful that Mom didn’t keep her love all to her own kids, but she loved many and counted them all “hers.” Little ones, big ones, it didn’t matter. She loved them all…

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