Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers' Day

I have been blessed by many mothers in my life. Today can't go by without many warm thoughts about them all. Thank the Lord there is enough room for all the love in my life.
While I miss my mom dearly, I am more and more grateful for her as the years go by. I am so thankful for a God-fearing, loving Mom who shaped and molded my life to help me be the person I am today. She taught me to be strong and independent. She told me when I was young that I could do whatever I wanted to do and be anything I wanted to be. She saved all our baby bonuses into a university account which gave us the message that we could and would go onto higher education. That wasn't always the case for other girls Annette and my age. She always had a parttime job because she wanted more interests in her life than her kids. Not that she didn't love us dearly, but she knew we would grow up and move on and that she'd need her own interests to keep her going. Mom modeled a strong, quiet faith, caring for her children with selfless love, including a critically ill child when Annette was 17 and first had cancer. The list goes on of the things I admire and miss about her.
Annette was also a God-fearing loving mom who gave of herself selflessly to her children. She modeled patience, gave much energy to her young boys, and became an enthusiastic advocate for people with special needs. She was strong and gentle and very smart. In quietness was her strength. She modeled faith and wisdom beyond her years. I miss chatting with her on a weekly basis.
My mother-in-love has been my "mom" for over 20 years (wow-that's hard to believe!) God has blessed me with her loving and gentle nature and her generous spirit. I love her as much as if she were my own and am forever grateful for how she has helped shape my life. I love you!
Menny is my newest "mother-in-love". I have enjoyed getting to know her better in the last year and am glad she is present in our lives. I am grateful for the joy she brings Dad and all of us and for her fun-loving ways. My children have loved getting a new Nana and we are all blessed by her presence. I love you!
I have been nurtured by my dear close friends. They mother me and love me when I need it. That take care of me and spoil me when I've needed it. They have laughed and cried with me, danced and mourned with me. I love you all!
May you all be blessed by the mothers in your life, whether here or in heaven, your genetic or adopted mothers. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

38 Claps

Today is my birthday. My 38th birthday.

It's either my age or my life situations that have made me more of an introspective person over the last few years. Little things now often remind me of bigger thoughts. Could be the additional grey hairs and wrinkles. Could be those bumps on the road. Could be more of life's experiences under my belt.

Yesterday, the students in my class (with the help of their parents) planned a wonderful "surprise" party for me (is it ever a surprise where 7 year olds are involved?) It was so sweet: They had decorations and home-made cards (which I love! Especially when they include sweet, heartfelt sentiments like "I love you" or "You are a really, really great teacher" and "Thank you for being my teacher and teaching us really well (notice she didn't say "good?" ) I like math and penmanship. I like you a lot, too. You are cool!!!" (Good to know I'm still "cool" to a 7 year old!). They got me some really great presents as a class. You gotta love the things kids think of! I got 3 pairs of socks, a fish for the classroom which we named "Rainbow", earrings, necklace and bracelet and a beautiful angel that sits on my shelf. They were so excited to share their cards, gifts, cake and joy with me!

But the thing that struck me was when they sang "Happy Birthday" to me. Very cute and off key. And then, true to 7 year old form, they concluded with the clapping count: Are you 1? Are you 2? Are you 3? I was going to encourage them to count by twos to speed things up a bit, then thought better of it as they were having so much fun.

By around clap 5, I got to thinking of when I was 5. And then each clap became a little snapshot of myself at that age.
and on and on (and on and on and on... I am getting up there you know).

And I just felt so blessed for each number they clapped off. Each year was a really good one. Full of great blessings of love with friends and family. Blessings from God.

A few claps (maybe 3) were hard to hear. Yes, we have had some hard years. But 35 out of 38 great claps is a wonderful percentage. It gives me great perspective. I have been blessed. I am blessed.

38 claps worth.