It was many years before I was able to become a mom. My first child was born a month before I turned 36. When he would.not.sleep. on his back, my mom visited and gently rolled him over on his belly in the bassinette. She told me to get some sleep and reassured me she would watch him. I was a conscientious new mom and trying to follow all the “sleep on your back” rules. Mom told me “You all slept on your tummies, and you all survived. I will sit right here and watch his breathing the whole time. Go get some sleep.” I watched as she pulled up a kitchen chair right next to the basinette. For the first time in a few days, the baby and I both had a blissful time of sleep. I think Grandma was pretty blissful too, having some one-on-one time with her first ever grand-baby.
That was the first of numerous times I discovered my mom has great advice about raising kids.
Fast forward six years. A few months ago I called her, disturbed because this same child–who ended up sleeping on his belly from that moment on– was now caught in several little lies. She told me “Seems like all of you kids went through a stage like that about his age. You can’t let them get away with it. Stick with it (discipline/consequences), and it will pass.” She was right about that, too.
On a cloudy morning last week the kids were having numerous battles and I was overwhelmed. Time to call mom. She told me to send them out in the yard to pick up sticks. After another fight or two outside, it worked like a charm, and my husband was pleased with the big pile of sticks they set up to show him that afternoon. “Make them run around the house a few times” is her cure for loud crazy kids in the house.
My mom is not a stand-out-of-the-crowd type of person in any way. Unlike me, she is fairly shy. She is quiet when there are lots of people around, but when she is with her kids or close family members at home, she can be the life of the party. She is so much fun, and loves to laugh. When times are tough, she hops on the John Deere Gator to get some fresh air at the farm, or she sits down at the keyboard to fill the room with a hymn. She always thinks she should get a job! (How many times has she told me that!?) However, she is always working, even though she doesn’t get a pay check.
I told mom once that I felt her job was called “being available”. When my dad calls to ask if she wants to run out to Filmore Equipment with him to pick up some parts, she is always ready to go. When one of my brothers needs a ride to Martin Spring & Driveline to pick up their truck, she heads out the door to pick them up. She takes her sister-in-law grocery shopping nearly every week. She hops in her car and drives an hour or two to visit her daughter (ME!) who is feeling overwhelmed with life, illness and homeschooling her kids. This past week she took us all out for lunch. Stopped and bought supper for us too, so I wouldn’t have to cook supper that night! If she hears of someone who is ill, grieving, or having a hard time, she will bring them a hot meal–often that very evening. If you are ever at her house, you will hear the phone ring several times. It is one of her daughters calling just to talk and share the events of the day. Her sons call nearly as often, and know there is always a meal ready if they are hungry. She is a wonderful cook. She knows 999 delicious ways to fix ground beef, after many years of being married to a dairy farmer. Nothing makes her happier then taking a little road trip with dad, whether going to a toy tractor show or visiting antique stores and any place that fancies them along the way. She doesn’t mind a little adventure now and then.
She can be a little crazy. She will go buy a pack of Swisher Sweets every few years and smoke them with her daughters out on the porch while they laugh and laugh—all of them normally being non-smokers of course!
She has always shown by example how to respect the elderly. As children, she took us to visit relatives and friends in the nursing home. She still helps every month with a senior luncheon. When her dad wasn’t doing well in assisted living, she moved him into her house and took care of him. She loved her parents and treasures their memory. My mom would never “toot her own horn”, and most of what she does is behind the scenes. She will blush like crazy to know that others are reading this about her. She never spoke to us kids about these things like they were a “lesson to learn”. She just lives it, and we see it.
She’s not a saint. (Though you might consider her one, if you knew how I behaved during my teenage years.) She is a sinner, saved by grace. To me and my brothers and sisters, and others who are privileged to know her well, she is a beautiful woman. There are many godly women I admire and respect and consider to be heroines as well. Of all of these, I love my mom the most, and hope to be just like her.