Today is my mom's birthday. I've always joked that she can't lie about her age. She was 30 when I was born. I'll be 42 on my next birthday (ye gads!) so that makes her "72 years YOUNG!", as she likes to say. I think that's a pretty good label. I mean, she is 72 and has some of the inevitable slowing down to go along with it, but she's also very spry and full of life. Her favorite thing is to be everyone's friend and grandma. In fact, her nickname at her apartment complex is "Grandma Bobbi" and everyone here stops me to tell me what a sweetheart my mom is. Pretty cool, huh?
When Mom got pregnant with me in the wee hours of 1965 (or the waning days of 1964), she was a living example of the 60's riddle "what do you call a woman who misses the the pill one day? Mom!". At the time, she had three kids, the youngest of whom was 5 years old. She'd given away all her baby paraphernalia (against the advice of my aunts who predicted a pregnancy if she did so) and determined that her baby days were over, much to the relief of her doctor who told her she wasn't supposed to have any. more. babies. Ever. Needless to say, I was a bit of a surprise. Even though I was the classic "oops" baby, my parents never made me feel like a mistake. My mom, especially, told me over and over through the years how happy she was to have me. When the other three went out on her own, she was so glad not to have an empty nest... and told me all the time.
Back in 1989 when I was in my first year of bible college, I wrote Mom a poem for Mother's Day. I didn't have any money, but I had a friend in typesetting who printed the poem up with a lovely font and flowers (I went to Bethany College and worked at Bethany House Publishers, home of the "Love Comes Softly" series) and I'd found a pretty frame to put it in. What was true in 1989 is even more applicable today (especially since I have the daughter I wrote about 11 years before she was born), so I figured I would post the poem here as a birthday tribute to my mom.
From the first day of my infancy
the dearest love I've ever known
has been one of gentle nurturing
which the kindest hands have sown.
These hands plowed a ground hard with folly
fallow from my earliest days
For Love's hard work has carefully sought
to break the ground and soften my ways.
With every gentle word Love spoke
with each unselfish deed
tender hands have reached out to plant
their promise in a seed.
Through many years and heartaches,
with laughter and with prayers,
diligently these hands have worked
to protect the promise from the tares.
As the years have passed, Love's watched me grow
to see the fruit I'll bear
and when you look at me closely you'll see
imprints of tender hands there.
As I am growing older,
Love's work is almost done.
The promise implanted in the seed
is who I have become.
Someday, it will be my hands
that plant a garden with godly fear.
And I will plant Love's promise seeds
in a little one so dear.
And as that child grows in love,
and the promise in her stands,
may I become to her what my dear mother is to me,
God's most loving pair of hands.
May 14, 1989