It was unexpected, without warning, out of nowhere....however you want to put it.
Since then, I have written countless posts and blogs and tributes in his honor. All of the things I wish I could have said to him, the things I hope he knew before he didn't wake up.
That's the thing though.
Too often we wait until people that we love are gone to tell them how we really feel.
Too often we are left with things in our hearts that we will never be able to express to them because we waited too long.
That was the case with my daddy.
But I will not let it be so with my mommy.
If losing my dad so suddenly taught me anything at all, it's that you should never refrain from telling people that you love them, that you are thankful for them, and all the other endless wonderful things that you can find to say about someone you love.
Say them all.
Even if it seems cheesy.
Even if it seems too often.
Even if it makes you feel vulnerable or weak.
Even if it's hard.
Even when you don't want to.
Even if you think you have plenty of time to find the right words and the right way to express them.
Just say them.
Write them if you have to.
Just make sure they know.
Today I am far from you mommy as is usually the case for us on Mother's Day and birthdays and most holidays. I do hate that and I hope you know that. I always think about what to get you for these sorts of things and I am never sure. Mostly because I feel like no matter what I bought you or gave you to try to express my love and thanks it would just never ever be able to do it justice.
So I decided to write.
Because that's what I am good at. That's the best gift that I can give you on a day like today.
I don't want to send flowers just because I should or post a video just because I always have. Today I want to honor you in a tribute. A tribute that you can see.
It's silly really. Because even words will never be able to capture all of the thoughts and feelings and mostly the thanks that I have for you as my mother. But something tells me they will be the closest I can ever get.
I know I say it often, but I could never say it enough. Thank you for your faith. For your tireless, enduring faith that believed against all odds that God was going to give you a baby. Thank you for your heart that longed to be a mother long before you were. For the time you spent planning and dreaming and collecting and imagining life as a mommy. Thank you for the prayers that I know you prayed for me long before you felt me moving or heard my heartbeat. Thank you for your patience to wait. Thank you because I am here and I am me because of who you are.
Thank you for every sacrifice you have ever made on my behalf. Of course they are far too many to list. But they are many. For the clothes you didn't buy yourself and the activities you didn't do so that I could attend a good school and get a solid education. For the sleepless nights and days that you spent frustrated and exhausted because I was relentlessly stubborn. For constantly changing your schedule to accommodate mine. It's honestly hard to list specific sacrifices because really your life in general has been an example of sacrificial love for me. Continuously you set your needs aside for mine and I have always known that even when I didn't know how to tell you thank you for it.
Thank you for your discipline. Of course there were plenty of times when I felt you were too hard on me, and perhaps you were. BUT. I always knew (even when I didn't admit it) that what you did, you did out of love and because you wanted me to be the best that I could be. Of course you made mistakes. You are a parent. You are human. I think it's part of the process. Sometimes I thought you were the worst human on planet earth. But always I knew that you loved me even when it was hard to see through hormonal teenage eyes. Looking back, I can see that the moments when you were the harshest and the most frustrated, those were the moments when you wanted so much to do what was right by be. I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time about it. I'm thankful because you taught me to work my hardest and do my best at whatever it was I was doing. You taught me that quitting is not an option. I was to finish what I started. Commitment was a strong word and if I made one I should keep it. You set your expectations for me high. Sometimes that was hard, but I know you did it because you wanted me to reach as high as I possibly could and to go as far as I could dream or imagine. You taught me to be grateful and to appreciate and care for what I had. To treat people with respect and kindness.
Thank you because you taught me how to be warm and welcoming. Our home was always open and filled with people and laughter and food. You showed me that a home should be somewhere that anyone and everyone can come and breathe and be themselves. Thank you for showing me how to be a friend. That friendships are not meant to end and it is possible for them to last a lifetime and to survive all sorts of things like distance and changes and years. Thank you that my friends were always welcome in our home and that you always did your best to make them feel like part of our family.
Thank you for your careful balance in parenting. I know that I was stubborn and strong willed. Somehow you managed to teach me character and manners and at the same time preserve my spirit. Somehow you helped me be me, the best me, even when it felt like you were against me.
Thank you for showing me what a marriage should look like. To make a lifetime commitment and keep it and not because you had to but because you wanted to. Because you were best friends.
Thank you for showing me by example that we cannot stop living after we lose someone we love. That we must find it within us to keep going and to keep living and perhaps to live even more than we did before. Thank you for changing your life. For getting healthy and for becoming an adventurer. Thank you for inspiring me in the way that you have lived since we lost daddy.
Thank you for passing onto me faith. For planting seeds deep within me long before I was even born. Thank you that I have never had to experience a day in my life without the love and the presence of Jesus. That's because you showed me what it really means to love him and serve him. In our home, Jesus was not just part of a religion, He was the foundation and the center of all that we did and said and believed. Thank you for letting me make my own choices and develop my own relationship with him.
Thank you that even though I know it has been so incredibly hard for you, you have let me soar. I always thought you were overprotective, but now I realize, you always let me go and that has made all the difference. You may have been terrified and so annoying until the moment the bus/van/car/plane drove away, but still you always let me go and you were there waiting when I returned. Thank you that even when you disagree you still find a way to support me. Thank you that you have never allowed anything to change or damage our relationship. We may get mad at each other, but there certainly is nothing that could divide us for good. Thank you that I am sure of that. That I am sure of your love.
Thank you for choosing to be a mom. For giving every single part of yourself to fulfill that role. I know that sometimes you feel like you don't have a calling or a purpose...and that's just silly! Maybe you aren't called to go across oceans or to be a pastor, but you were called to be a mother to someone who is. If you had not been you and lived out your faith and trusted God for a baby and then spent your life trying to raise the baby He gave you for Him, I would not be me. I believe with my whole heart that you are just as much a part of His call on my life as I am.
Today (and everyday) I hope you know how deep my love and gratitude are for you.
The truth is this. Sometimes I don't say everything I want to say because vulnerability is hard and because vulnerability makes me cry. Sometimes it is easier to tell myself that I don't miss you as much as I do because if I admit the truth it's just too hard. I'm sorry that sometimes I want to have long, hard conversations. It's only because I want to be sure that I truly know you and understand you before it's too late. I want to make sure I hear your heart and know your story before you can't share it with me anymore. I don't ever want to leave anything unsaid or unexpressed.
I love you mommy. And now every time I say those words to you, I hope you understand what I really mean and how much I truly mean them.
Happy Mommy Day :)