Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Blame My Mother...

 This is my mom.  

I like this picture of her.  It says so much about who she is.  Not only is my mom stylish (check out the boots), but she's also practical, nurturing, and beautiful. See her holding my sons hand?  That's not for the picture.  She's doing that because that's what she does. She holds hands, gives hugs, and loves more unselfishly than anyone I know.

My Mom (aka: Mimi)  and Caden, my nephew.

It's no secret that I have three boys whom I love and adore.  But if I have to be completely honest with you, I will tell you that I do dream of having a little girl one day. I have dreamed of having a daughter for as long as I can remember.  Little girls don't often dream of growing up, getting married, and having a house full of boys.  At least I didn't.  No, my perfect world involved a daughter who would grow into my best friend.

I blame my mother for this.  I don't think I would have wanted a daughter nearly as badly if I hadn't had such a good mother as an example.

She is my best friend.  And I wanted the chance to have that relationship with my own little girl.

Mimi reading to Noah 
My mom taught me the little things like writing thank you notes, tipping your hair dresser, and how to set a table (forks on the left, everything else on the right, people.  See below.  I want you all to know this.  It's important!)

My mom also taught me about the big things in life.  Like modesty.  That it's not only okay to cover-up and be cute, but it's Godly.  While I was growing up, my mom's rule was that I had to dress to please my dad.  That has since carried over into my marriage and I try to always be mindful of my husband when trying on clothes.  If he would be uncomfortable seeing me in it, then I don't buy it. Period.

My mom taught me to be a friend.  To love those who were considered the outcasts.  To stay away from gossip.  To give generously and without expecting anything in return.  To forgive and extend mercy, even where none is due.  To be content with little or much.  To listen quickly and speak slowly.  

It's funny.  Growing up, I thought that all of those qualities were just a part of who my mom was.  I didn't realize that she was purposely living her life before me as an example of what Christ wanted me to be.  She wasn't just born with all of those qualities.  They came from years of walking with the Father, and she mothered me the best way she knew how: by living out loud.  

 She was (and is) a great mom to my brother and me, but as girls to moms go, she's at the top somewhere.  With an example like that, how could I not desire my own daughter?

My mom is, simply put, one of the best people I know.  I am honored to be able to call her my mom!    

Mimi holding Seth

And Speaking of Mothers....

When we were pregnant with Seth, we didn't know if he was a boy or a girl, so for the first time, we got to pick out a girl name for our baby.  The girl name was after my maternal grandmother who is much to blame for how great my mom is.  I wish I had a picture of her to share with you.  She was beautiful, inside and out.  Her name was Jo Helen, and our little girl was going to have that "Jo" in her name.  The name is so special to me because the memory I have of my grandmother forever etched in my mind is of her, at the end of her battle with cancer, sitting in her bed, unable to eat or drink.  But she found the strength to lift her hands, and sing to the Lord with all her might.  I remember feeling so close to the gates of Heaven that night, standing next to someone who was within hours of going to her eternal home with Jesus.   I remember feeling that this was the purpose of life, to glorify my God, and I didn't want to miss it.   "Jo" means "God will increase."  I decided that night that if we ever had a girl, she'd carry on my grandmother's legacy.  Ryan and I wanted our little girl to inherit that strong name from my grandmother.

We had also decided to use the name "Ella," after Ryan's grandmother who passed away in 2009.  Grandma Low, as we called her, was a tremendous example of faith.  I always think of Grandma when I'm in the yard or the garden.  Teaching my boys about weeding, watering, and waiting.  There are so many life lessons that can be learned from working in the soil of the earth.  I think Grandma knew this and that's part of the reason she was so fond of gardening.  Here she is a few months before she passed away:

 As mother-in-laws go, I've got a pretty great one.  She is my second mom, really, and also a great friend.  Here she is:

To her credit, she welcomed me into her family when I was only 17 years old  (just to be clear: that's when I met Ryan, not when we got married. I was much older. I was 19.)   In retrospect, I imagine she must have been thinking, "WHAT?!"  But she never once made me feel anything but at home.  I fell in love with Ryan's family, just as much as I did him.  I have a tremendous amount of respect and compassion for my mother-in-law.  She is the one who chose to give him life, nurtured him for 20 years, and then let him go.  He left home, family, and country for me.  (Have I mentioned my man's Canadian? Oh he is.  As Canadian as a Canadian can get. Whatever that means.)

 I have learned a lot from my mother-in-law.  I strive to have a home as organized as hers.  Every thing, even the random nik-naks, have a place in her house.  It's kind-of amazing.  It's a goal of mine to be this organized, but I doubt I'll ever reach it.  Have I mentioned I have 3 boys?  I should probably stop comparing myself to a woman who starts packing 2 weeks in advance of a trip.  I should just throw in the towel now.  But, seriously, the one thing that sticks out is her love and devotion to family.  She's fiercely loyal, a trait that I understand and love about her.

So, you see, my desire for a daughter is completely and utterly selfish.  I want one so I can pass on the legacies of these beautiful women and all the things they've taught me.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity...when she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness...Her children stand and bless her.  Her husband praises her...Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  Reward her for all she has done.  Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." 
Proverbs 31:25, 26, 28, 30-31