On my way home from a softball game tonight, I was listening to my favorite radio station, KNWC, 96.5 here, and the guest had a lot to say about parenting, mostly as a father to son, but he discussed how much influence his father had on his life, and he was asked to speak to his father as if he were sitting across the table from him and let him know what he thought of him. As many of you know, that would lead me to talk to my own greatest influence:
I love you. I wish I could hug you right now, but I so appreciate all the hugs you gave me, for all the encouragement you gave me, for all the support and unconditional love you gave me. I am the woman I am today because of you. I ask you all the time, "How am I doing, Mom? Am I doing OK?" Even though you didn't get the chance to go to high school, you were so smart and taught me so much, and I remember the pride you felt and we felt for you when you received your diploma many years later, after you had all of your children. You live on inside of me every day, and in the lives of your children and grandchildren. You were so kind, loving and generous, and it makes me want to be a better person and a better mom and grandma. You were the pillar of strength for me. Thank you for always loving me and helping me. When you were with me, I always felt loved and safe and cared for. Every day when I wake up, I see your face in the picture I have beside my bed, and then, I see you again when I see myself in the mirror. I am a lot like you, but not nearly as strong and couragous.
You always said you couldn't do much for us kids, but you did far more than most any mother could or would. You worked so hard for us. You loved us when we were unlovable. We have not forgotten you, but have learned to cope, to live without you walking beside us. We know where you are and we know you are happy and well. The Heavenly Father is holding you close and taking care of you because you are His child and He loves you so much.
Thank you for giving me life, for all the love you have given me , and for teaching me about unending and unconditional love for my own kids. If my kids turn out to be good, kind adults, I will feel successful. You have done that-you have brought each of us to God. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it."You are responsible for teaching us about the Father in Heaven, for making sure went to church and Sunday school. I now know the pride you must have felt watching us sing and praise God. You also have been the biggest influence on me trying to choose joy in all things. With each season, I remember you planting and harvesting and canning, and trying to make the house as comfortable as possible. It was not easy for you, you worked so hard for us kids, but you made the best of things, and always said, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." Thank you for that. You always said, "When it comes to blessings, I'm richer than most", and "my children are my richest blessing". Thanks for making us each feel special and important in this world.
I love you so much, and one day, I'll spend eternity with you, talking, singing, laughing, and praising, and it will be as though you were never apart from me. You are the greatest Mother God ever put on this earth. You were entrusted with 9 children, Linda, Nick, Mike, Pat, Susie, Ginny, Carol, Tom, and Kristy, because one of your greatest gifts was the gift of motherhood. I know that another child was lost, and I know you two have met. Was it spectacular? Give him a hug for me from sister, Carol.
Tell Dad we miss him too. We have just had a few more years to get used to that, and when he left us, we still had you beside us. Are you two dancing up there? I remember when you would take me dancing with you. You were so happy when you were dancing. Tell Dad to save a polka or a two step for me! For now, I want to say how proud I am to be one of your children. I feel so fortunate to have shared the journey with you. Love, Carol