Fresh snow on the ground. Crisp air in our lungs. We excitedly filled the huge yellow bowl with snow and headed back into the warmth. Some vanilla, sugar and a few happy tummies later… you were loving us by making snow ice cream.
Kitchen table overturned, three little boys with goggles huddled behind it. A conglomeration of chemicals in a balloon at the other side of the room. Excited anticipation, a few seconds for a mom to duck behind with us and a loud explosion… you were loving us through homeschooling science class.
Random chuckle on a car ride, building to a sustained laugh. Us boys chiding you to “Quit, it’s not funny.” A boisterous “Ha, ha, ha!” and a belly laugh later and we were all falling out of our seat-belts in uncontrollable, tear inciting laughter… you were loving us in the joy of the moment.
Four evenly divided squares on the kitchen floor. Cleaning supplies and the four of us on our knees. Speed scrubbing the laminate tiles in a race to see who could finish first… You were loving us by teaching us the gift of hard work and taking care of our possessions.
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These moments, and so many more, flood my mind as I think back upon my childhood. And you were there, all along — secretly, quietly, subversively — loving us into further devotion to Christ, strengthening our character and integrity and training us into the men of God we are today.
You may remember the mistakes and recall the times that you fell short of your own expectations, but that’s not what we remember. That’s not what we draw back on when we think of you, Mom.
We see an empress. A queen among a household of barbarians. A woman who has left a legacy of an “all in” lifestyle to three young men and a beautiful daughter. You’ve changed us and loved us and shown us what it looks like to live and love like Christ. You are my hero!
So, on your birthday this year, know that you are celebrated and loved dearly — though from miles away. We could not ask for a better friend and mother than you. Happy Birthday, Momma.