when i was a kid, and i did awana at our church, we had these forms we filled out at the beginning of every year. you know, the classic name, address, age, birthday, school, etc etc deal. one of the blanks was for “mother’s occupation.” the first time i had to fill one of those out, i remember raising my hand and asking my leader “what do i write here?” she thought i was asking what occupation meant, so she answered “write what your mom does for her job.” and i said “she doesn’t have a job. she’s just my mom.” (i can’t remember what they told me to put, but i decided to just put “homeschool teacher.” every year after i’d put something else funny, like “swier family chef” or “assistant manager of 5 creekfield court.”)
but as i grew up, i realized my mom does have a job. she has the job i want most in the world.
the first time i remember wanting to be a mom was when i was five, and someone asked what i wanted to be when i grew up. i said “somebody’s wife.” i paused and clarified “well, really i just want to have a lot of kids.”
my whole life i’ve wanted to be lots of different things, changing my mind every year or so like every kid does, but i always figured i’d be married with kids while doing those things, if i even did any of them. i couldn’t imagine not being a mom someday.
my favorite thing that i learned in my counseling youth and families class was that my mom is the biggest reason that i want so badly to be one myself. one of the books i got to read for that class talks about the idea we have of what it means to be a parent and how that comes from our own parents. since my mom loves being a mom so much, i learned to look at that as the best thing i could possibly do with my life.
my mom loves her job. she’s never wanted any other one. people today are always saying women need to work and get out and “be their own person” or whatever, but i think my mom did just fine spending her whole life taking care of her family.
some moms get jobs and are able to give their kids a lot of things. my mom stayed home with us and was able to give us herself. i’d rather have that than a big house and cable tv and a dog.
i could list all the things she did for us, but since she’s the most wonderful person in the world for three billion other reasons, that seems like a better list to make on mother’s day.
1. she has superhuman patience. anyone else would have sent scott to military school by now.
2. she’s never negative, and she tries to get us to think on the bright side. but in the non-annoying way; she agrees that we have reasons to complain, but she lets us figure out that the positives she pointed out are more important. and she doesn’t say things unless they’re true. she’d never say “it’ll be okay” or “you’ve got this” just to fill a silence or attempt to make us feel better. she’s realistically encouraging. (i think this is why i hate fake positivity so much; i never got it so i don’t have a need for it)
3. she’s fiercely loyal, like i am. she’s much nicer about it than me, but any time something happens to one of us, she doesn’t usually stand up for the other person. eventually she gets around to the are you sure they didn’t mean so and so, or maybe they just wanted to do such and such, because like i said she’s crazy patient and doesn’t want to say mean things about anyone, but she’s on our side. she has more self control than i do, or else every person who has ever hurt one of her kids would get an angry phone call.
4. she loves people. when i say “i love people” i mean i love being around them all the time, but when i say my mom loves people, i mean she loves people. she’s always helping someone, and like me, she doesn’t stop and rest as much as she probably should.
5. she’s a great listener.
6. she loves to read. and for the most part she passed that onto us(“most part” meaning matthew straight up hates it, and daniel isn’t a fan). when we were all little and in school at the same time, we had one day every week that we’d go to the library, and any time we wanted to watch tv or get on the computer we’d have to read for a half hour first. every summer, she and i would pick a book that we both wanted to read, and we would race to see who would finish first(i’d usually win, partly because i didn’t have five kids to take care of, but mostly because i’d always be hogging the one copy we had). books were always important in our house.
7. she likes to understand people. she’s always reading some book about something that has to do with one of us(i think she’s read every book on ADD ever published). and not just because she wants to get it, because she wants to know how to help us. and whenever i talk to her about something, she’s always asking questions, which some people hate but i love because when i’m done talking to her, things always make better sense because i hadn’t thought to ask the things she did.
i guess she just likes to understand everything actually…when we watch a movie together, especially if i’ve seen it before and she hasn’t, she asks questions every five minutes to clarify what’s happening. most of my family gets annoyed by it; i think it’s hilarious. =p
8. she doesn’t like her singing voice. but because we loved it, she’d always sing to each of us at night. it always made me feel better, and even now if i ever have a bad dream i kind of wish she was there to sing the “friends are friends forever” song you hear at graduations. see, when i was little, anytime i’d have a nightmare and wake up crying she would come in and i’d tell her to “sing the friend song.” i don’t remember how this first started, i probably just liked the song and felt like hearing it one time when i was scared, then every time after that i just thought of what made me feel better the last time and asked for that. either way, every time i hear that song now, i feel like someone’s playing with my hair.
9. sometimes, she just does ridiculous things that are completely unlike her just to make us laugh. for instance, she was telling me a story one day, i don’t even remember what about, and she ended with “and that sucked.” and i stopped her and said “i thought you hated that word!”(it’s true, she tells me every time i say it) and she says “i’m just trying to speak your language!”
10. she is completely helpless with any kind of technology, so she gets really excited when she does something on her own. my favorite example: this one day she calls me just to tell me that she learned how to text.
mom: “I JUST SENT A TEXT MESSAGE!”
me: “oh. great i guess…did you not know how to do that?”
mom: “no! but i figured it out all by myself, and i spelled things like ‘pls’ and ‘thx’ and everything!”
i was very proud of her.
11. she never forgets to have her quiet time. every single morning, at least on school days(weekends i was never up early enough to notice), she’s reading her Bible in bed.
12. she always smells good. i think everyone says that about their mom, but mine is the only one it’s true about.
and i found out a couple weeks ago that she’s an ISFJ. no wonder we get along so well.(that’s an ESFP’s perfect match)
at my church we just finished going through Crazy Love. there’s a chapter in there that talks about people who lived radical lives and did huge things for God. at the end it asks you to think of who you know that belongs on that list, and i immediately thought of my mom. before any camp staffers, before beth. i thought of them next of course, but mom was first. she gave her whole life to us, homeschooled five crazy kids, taught us about God and life and bargain grocery shopping, gave us the best birthday cakes in the world, watched the dumbest movies with us when we were sick, dragged us to all our dance recitals and debate tournaments and basketball games, and somehow managed to stay sane through it all. i think that’s just as radical and huge as a guy who gets all his teeth pulled so he won’t have to come off the mission field for a dentist appointment again.
she isn’t perfect, and i don’t always act this grateful. but i love her and she loves me, and we know that, so all the little things don’t matter. she’s “just” my mom, and that’s all she needs to be.