Her eyes stinging with hot tears, she stares at the paper in front of her. Her long brown hair thankfully covers her face as she bends closer to the desk in her Sunday School class pretending to be working intently on her Father’s Day assignment. Her thoughts come tumbling free from the pain inside her little heart. “He wasn’t ever home anymore – why should I color him this Father’s Day card? It would probably be months before he would see it. What’s the point? I’ll just color it and throw it away as usual.”
Riding silently home from church, she tucked the card behind her other papers. As the little girl entered the house with her older sisters and younger brother, she smelled the aroma of the Sunday dinner cooking in the oven. Home. A place where she felt loved. Everything inside seemed to speak her mother’s name. It seemed to shine with her spirit and love.
Slipping out of the little dress her mother had finished hemming the night before and into play clothes, she went to see what her older sisters were doing. The same thing. Changing clothes. They were very careful with their Sunday clothes. Even though it wasn’t discussed, they knew that new clothes didn’t come easily. They were hand made, and only as needed or for special occasions.
There was no radio on, but music still filled the house with her mother’s singing and the clank of the biscuit pan as the hot delicate bread was slid from the oven. Minutes later, one, two, three, four children sat around the table with mother at the head, as they each bowed to offer thanks.
Everything was delicious, it always was. How did she do it? With hard times, even the meager snack was sometimes slim, and yet, she somehow fed them until they were full of tasty meals! The older girls cleaned the kitchen as mother began getting the younger two ready to settle in for a Sunday afternoon nap. Quietly, the youngest girl went back to her room and looked again at her papers from Sunday School – “I know,” she thought, “Someone else needs this Father’s Day card. I’ll give it to mother because she’s everything to me, even a father. She takes such good care of all of us, working everyday and still finding time for play.” She paused a moment as she reminisced about all the special things mother had done lately – the surprise beach picnic last Saturday, and then coming to the school program the Friday before. “How tired mother looked as she rolled my hair in the sponge rollers last night so I would look pretty for church. Mother always looked beautiful,” she thought. She had often heard comments on what a beautiful mother she had. She even heard people say that her beauty was more than “skin deep”, her heart was beautiful! “
“She deserves this card,” she thought with sudden firmness. Gripping the card tightly behind her, she slipped into her mother’s bedroom. Climbing up onto the bed where she was reading her Bible, already preparing for next weeks lesson. The young girl’s small hands whipped the card from behind her back, placed it on top of mother’s Bible, and smiled, as she sincerely looked into her mother’s eyes, and with tears choking her voice just a bit, said, “I made this for you today, because you have been a mother and a father to us.”
Mother swallowed hard and replied, “Oh, thank you darling, you did so well!”
Then mother leaned over, gave the small child a loving squeeze, and got up to go to the restroom. Finally, returning, her eyes red and cheeks rosy, she climbed back into bed for her nap. She cuddled up to the small child and they both slept that sweet Sunday afternoon. . . .”
Down through the years our mother was faithful, providing time, unconditional love, teaching life values, giving strength, planting seeds of hope, and living Jesus.
Now that I’m grown, I know I didn’t have the Proverbs 31 woman for a mother, I’ve had much more! – A mother and a father rolled into one: a model matriarch of faith, a cup of His life that has continually poured into mine. Her life is a reflection of Him. We all love her and are incredibly grateful for all the sacrifices made. “Giving” —so that we could receive.
Looking back on our lives, I know there were times it had to be hard to raise four children on a mere bookkeeper’s wages, but she always kept us fed, clothed, loved, and taught us about Jesus; and how He could fill every void. I realize with much clarity, I made her cry when I gave her that card on Father’s Day, but she was so strong I never saw her grief. Since becoming a mother, I understand more of the sacrifices she made. If only I can be half of what she has been to me.
Mother, I cherish every moment I spend with you, and I pray you’ll be rewarded, one day for all you’ve been: teacher, comforter, and my friend. As your Savior crowns you, I know He will say, “Well done my good and faithful child – enter in!”
Pictured standing: Wanda, Angie, Aimee (from Sister’s Retreat 2006)
Not pictured: our brother, Jeff.
Essay written by Aimee with much love for Mother on Mother’s Day.
Copyright 2009 Sisters of Faith, Aimee Douglas. All rights reserved.