Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
On April 20th, 2008, my mother finally let go of the world and found her way to my father's side in heaven. It was her wish. It was her prayer. God finally relented and let her go home.
As much as my mother and I struggled and bumped heads, I now know much of the wisdom that she tried to give me was the truth. I also realize that maybe it was ME who was an exasperating child at times, and there were moments that I cherish that she showed me that she loved me dearly. There was nothing like a Gladys Onody love-pat on the leg or arm. Mom would become overwhelmed with her love or pride over one of us kids and reach over and pat our leg with an exuberance that you could see and feel as she released her love onto our thigh. These love-pats would come out of the blue - while sitting in a car, at the movie, on the couch when watching TV. It burst from her, and you knew at that moment she loved you with all her being. At other times, she would be tough, stubborn, uncompromising, and brutal with critical comments. She was a tough cookie. She loved to read and loved my father to the moon and back. My brother, sister, and I resented her prioritization of my father, but biblically she honored him as her husband by placing him first. Her opinion on things kept me from exploring many activities and pursuits when I was younger and in her strict care. The cringe-worthy line my sister and I both shudder at to this day - "Why would you want to do that? You'll sweat, you will get hurt, or you haven't experienced enough." I used to and maybe still struggle with resentment over her protective response to my desire to play tennis, ski, run cross country, or participate in a foreign exchange program. It didn't matter because later in my 20's, I ran cross country at college, won ribbons at Navy Bootcamp for running, and traveled to Japan, Canada, Hawaii, and other places while serving in the Navy.
I think I misunderstood how you were trying to do your best in the only way you knew how with the only tools you were given from your parents and a much different culture and society that we were living in. I didn't realize that God had placed me in your care, and He was speaking through you to protect me. I wasn't ready for any of it. Thank you, Mom, for your love and sometimes gruff care. I see it now - now that I am the mother of five grown children. You were right when you said I would understand when I have my own kids. I do.
Dear God: Please let Mom know that I get it now. Please give her a Gladys Onody love-pat for me and let her know I miss her.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!