I wrote this really deep post about how my mother was the greatest person ever to live. Then I deleted it. The words weren’t doing justice to what I’m feeling right now. Not. Even. Close.
This Mother’s Day, I celebrate a new type of lesson: gratitude in the way Valerie J. White Hale Johnson touched everyone else. This is not about me. It’s about you (or them if you’re reading this and have no idea who I’m talking about).
My mother was amazing. Not in an angelic way, but in that flawed, I’m-trying-to-do-the-right-thing-but-I’m-human-too way. She messed up. Sometimes she owned it, sometimes not. It didn’t diminish her amazingness. She elevated how a lot of us experienced God. She made good food and hosted great dinner parties (and you know I likes my food!). She was pretty (um… of course she is. Where do you think I get my good looks?!). She was the glue that held us together when she was alive and the bond that pulls me back to my family when I get too far away.
For four years, she was a fantastic grandmother. The grandkids don’t remember her (that hurts my soul), but we do. She was the reason The Girl wasn’t left at the fire station. The reason my brother isn’t a deadbeat dad. The reason The Kid, as… trying as he can be, is able to have the freedom to make all the choices he’s made. Through us, she set some standards. Yeah, we maybe didn’t really get the lessons at the time and maybe botched them up in practice (read The Kid’s formative years), but without her guidance things would have been a lot worse.
So this Mother’s Day, I’m sharing my mother. Thank you to everyone who helped shape who she was. Thank you to everyone who tells me what impact she had on their lives or how they are glad they have known her. Thank you to my brother. In each of us lives the Mommy we know and love. She understood how we needed to be loved and I now understand that it was not even close to being the same. Thank you to my aunts. You’ve taught me about young Val with your stories. I can’t thank you enough. And thank you to everyone who shared her back with me. Your love for her makes my heart pour over with pride for being her daughter.
Happy Mother’s Day.