My mom is an amazing lady. She has not had an easy life. Her mother died when she was just a little girl. Her father was still a part of her life, but she was raised by her Aunt Grace, who was a kind and gentle soul. She was married at 17 and had two children before her 20th birthday. Life with my dad was difficult at times; he was a good man in many ways but he was an alcoholic, a much different man when he had too much to drink. It's fair to say my mom bore the brunt of his anger and outbursts. By the time I was ten, my dad had left us; my mother was doing the 'single mom thing' long before the term became popular.
When advised by a social worker to quit work and rely on the welfare system my mom refused. She worked all day and took care of three children, providing for all that we needed. We never had a lot and sometimes went without things that were not absolutely necessary, but she always made sure we had food on the table and clothes on our back. Often she would scrape together change so that there was milk in the fridge. She was creative in being able to stretch our groceries. I was reminiscing with her in a recent call about meals that consisted of macaroni and a can of stewed tomatoes or ground beef mixed with a can of vegetable soup. I remember the four of us sharing a can of soup; the cans must have been bigger back then!
When my dad left, I had to stop playing little league baseball, but I still played with the kids in the neighborhood and the local park. I don't know how she did it, but when I wanted to play hockey, she found a way to provide the equipment needed. My equipment was used, I never had new skates but I got to enjoy the game as I grew through my teenage years. I remember a time when we took an overnight trip to Niagara Falls with one of my mom's friend and her two kids; it's funny how that stands out in my mind. Another time we shared a cottage with the same family at Mitchell's Bay; that was mom doing something special within the limitations of her budget and creating lasting memories.
When I think of my mom the word 'sacrifice' comes to mind; she was the one who went without so that we had what we needed. She was and is a woman of great strength. Outside of the Lord Jesus, I don't know of any other person who models sacrificial love as my mom did. To this day, she doesn't have a lot, but is still very giving. One time she gave a cheque (my mom still uses cheques, she even types them!) to help with travel expenses when Janice went back to help out after she had surgery. I told Janice just to leave the cheque -- that was a mistake! I've had to learn the grace to receive and just say 'thank you'.
With the pandemic dragging on and travel still risky, it's been over a year since I last saw my mom. We celebrated her 80th birthday virtually and connected the same way at Christmas. (We're grateful that Scott is close enough that he and Tiffany and Riley can visit my mom.) I wish I could hug my mom and say 'Happy Mother's Day' but maybe a phone call to simply say 'thanks mom' will remind her how much she means to me and how blessed I am to call her 'mom'!