The lessons I have learned from you have and will continue to bless my life for eternity. I could write a book about the blessings of having a strong and faithful mother. I have. A brief excerpt follows:
My mother instilled lessons in us children of courage and solidarity for which she will never really see all the fruits. Her influence extends far beyond today’s posterity for generations infinitum. She taught us horticultural, culinary arts, and that a worthwhile life was to enjoy while still being productive. I didn’t even know what all those words meant back then, but she made sure we experienced them in our early years and did it faithfully for all of her children and grandchildren. What started small grew into a legacy that will pave the way for life’s choices, its obstacles, and the decisions we make the rest of our days.
Building a homestead meant work and a lot of it. But gratefully, Mother never let us forget that it meant fun as well. I have such fond memories of getting all bundled up on a wintery morning to travel to the La Sal Mountains to cut down a Christmas tree. What seemed a relatively small task turned into a day-long event. After donning winter clothes, we gathered sleds and snow flings along with the saws for the tree. Mother packed a lunch of thick-crusted bread, thermos of warm, homemade soup, fruit, and her famous chocolate cake and placed it all tenderly in a picnic basket in the back of the truck where the lot of us was sitting for our fifteen minute drive to the mountains.
Or perhaps after a hot day’s work in the fields on the homestead, Mother pulled us all together to go for a swim up at the pond near the top of the valley. Our activities did not have to be elaborate and were never costly, but they united the family and brought joy to otherwise tedious chores, duties, and responsibilities we really were just learning about. Mother always made work fun and gave us something more to look forward to. I didn’t knowingly appreciate the importance of that ability then, but I knew it was more than a stroke of luck. It was Mother’s capacity to make difficult situations turn into exciting adventures. Let me emphasize that it was not money or lavish opportunities that enabled this. It was perspective and attitude that turned a simple drive around Canyonlands into a treasured, life-long memory. Picnics on the farm, carnivals for the children, regular work projects in summer’s heat with pitchers of fresh lemonade, and homemade batches of bread, yogurt, buttermilk, and treats—Mother made everything better.
I admire Abraham Lincoln for a lot of reasons. I would like to think we have much in common. Probably my life will never amount to that which he achieved. But one thing we have in common is we both have wonderful roots, which he captured in these immortal words for the both of us:
“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
Because of you, Mom, I have good memories to cherish all the days of my life. Your influence lifts and builds me every day, especially when I need it most. Eternity will be better because you are a part of it.
I love you, Mom.
Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day!