Dear Mom

Today marks the ten year anniversary of the end of your seemingly short race here on this planet and the beginning of an eternity as the bicycle riding, softball throwing, pool swimming, head-back laughing, stranger-greeting, ever smiling young woman with clear and sparkling blue eyes. You must be so happy, singing at top volume, every song your favorite.

Even still, I miss you.

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Mom (Avonna) and me or possibly Lynelle. Who’s to know? (1980 or 1982)

I mostly just wanted to take today to thank you for always loving me–the times we understood each other and the times we couldn’t see eye to eye. You never once let me question your affection for me, unashamedly hugging and kissing me, making it normal to hear the words, “I love you.”

When it didn’t seem like we had much in common, you found ways to make your commitment to me sure: coming to my Saturday softball double-headers and sharing a submarine sandwich with me on the grass between games, playing Boggle with me after I couldn’t stand being beat in Checkers by you one more time. You were always willing to sing harmonies of the old hymns and choruses you taught Lynelle and I when we were young, and you consistently found a way to make my birthday more than just an ordinary day. When I think about the fights we had, I also remember how you gave me space to myself to cool off and remember that we loved each other.

Above all else, I’m so thankful that you trusted me to know Jesus for myself, teaching me to hear His voice and giving me room to dream with Him about my life. You didn’t put your own expectations on my future but, instead, expected me to follow the desires God had for me.

I’m no longer afraid of the tears that come, sometimes unexpectedly, when something reminds me of you: seeing the remnants of a scar left from a scrape you helped mend or watching a sentimental commercial I know you would’ve been wiping your eyes to. My tears don’t hold pain anymore, just the gratitude for the days we got to spend together–the fond memories that we built even when my mind was too young to catch them.

It might seem selfish, and I could never ask you to come back from being fully and truly you, fulfilling your eternal destiny and living your dreams; but I often wonder how it will feel on my wedding day, or on the day I have my first child without you there to hold my hand. I know I can rest in two things: that I will feel you in my heart on those days, and that those gifts will be directly related to you, through the gift of life you gave to me. Thanks, Mom. I love you forever.

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