When I was a little girl, Mommy mostly knew how to make it all better. Not always, but mostly always.
I remember crawling into Mommy and Daddy’s bed once when there was a storm. I only remember doing that once, but I do remember feeling safe. Safer than when we had to sit under the big upright piano, our tornado shelter. What in the world…
When I had to stay home from school with a fever, Mommy would pull out the Childcraft books and choose a project to make with her construction paper and pipe cleaners and glitter and glue and toilet paper tubes. One of my favorite sick day projects was making sock puppets with old socks that no longer had partners. And the only time I ever got to play with pipe cleaners was when I was sick. I’m sure of it. If it was springtime, a construction paper cone basket with a pipe cleaner handle was perfect for the peonies and irises in the front yard flower bed or the daisies in the tractor tire flower bed next to the front porch.
I seemed to be plagued with broken ear drums. Maybe it was just once, but I think it was more. Maybe it was just multiple ear infections, but I do remember at least one broken ear drum. Mommy’s remedy was to break aspirin into a powder, mix it with a little warm water in a spoon, and pour it in my ear. What in the world…
When I was down and out and so sad, Mommy would set me on her lap and sing the worms song. “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m goin’ out to eat worms.” She would sing it until I would smile again. Sometimes, I think she sang it in jest, to poke at my ridiculous mood and to tell me to quit feeling sorry for myself – kinda mean – but mostly she sang it to get me to cheer up and realize it wasn’t all so bad.
When I was sick, even into adulthood, she could always tell I was coming down with something. “I can see it in your eyes.” And I kinda liked when I got sick, because that meant Daddy was going to bring home some 7-Up from the gas station. We rarely had pop when I was little, but it was a guarantee if one of us was sick.
When life was hard, even if that just meant that Lori was mean to me at church, or Angela wouldn’t let me play with her and her friends, Mommy had a way of making it better. I would lay in her lap, and she would softly run her fingers through my hair until I fell asleep.
There were the growing up years that weren’t so smooth with Mom. Junior high and high school were not so fun and her lap was not where I really wanted to find myself. But as soon as it was no longer available and I moved away to South Texas at 19, I longed for that lap of comfort and security.
Saturday mornings were for Mom phone calls when we lived two states away. Sometimes other days required a call, when I just needed her presence to reassure, to listen, to advise, and to empathize. No one was a better cheerleader. No one was a better hand-holder. No one had a better lap for the moments when you just needed safety and security.
In recent years, when I moved closer and she was nearby, her lap became tight hugs. Her lap became knowing looks. Her lap became dinner at Taco Johns or a run to Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait. Her lap became quiet evenings at the table with leftovers in little butter tubs and cottage cheese containers, sharing tears over the latest.
So today, I am grateful for Mom’s lap.
Even at 51, I wish I had her lap again…
I am grateful that when last night was so hard, God gave me the song below to play on my internal jukebox.
I am grateful that the choir is singing it and I am privileged to have the music and play for them.
And I am grateful that when I cannot stand, I can fall on Jesus, and He will understand. As Mom used to sing, “No one understands like Jesus, when the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus, cast your every care on Him.”