After a whole week of rainy days it was great to just be outside today absorbing sorely missed sunshine. Couldn’t help but remember the many hours spent with Mama last year on the deck lounge chairs, enjoying the trees, the breeze, and the birds tweeting about us. Tweeting around us (not sure if they noticed us enough for bird discussions) but maybe we caught their attention. Papa always called us his two Virginias: the elegantly angelic Virginia, “Ginny” his wife (with lovely white hair), and Virginia, his daughter (with flaming red hair.)
I hope I didn’t cause too many of Mama’s white hairs, but for sure, with five children we all probably caused a few (equally distributed, of course, since my siblings read this blog!)
Contemplating these memories, suddenly TWO BLUEBIRDS flew near our birdbath. A pair – a bright blue male and an almost disguised female, but yes, as she flew away the blue peaked out from under her wings.
Mama loved bluebirds, a sighting was always cause for celebration.
It’s so hard, missing her. I miss Papa… but we had Mama all last year to hug on when our hearts hurt. We tried to pamper her (after her 30+ years of looking after our wheelchair-to-bedfast-bound Papa, she surely needed it. Add the preceding 28 years of raising 5 children, there could never be enough pampering in the world for our Mama!)
I keep finding notes she wrote to me over the years. When I worked overseas she sent many small cards with encouraging words, written in her precious script. I put them in books & all sorts of places, but what joy to uncover them now. It’s like hearing her voice across the divide.
And then I remember the embrace of her love. A few weeks before she died, Mama and I sat on the loveseat in the living room and huddled a hug of comfort that lasted awhile. I know she missed Daddy each and every day – they were like glue, stuck together (but oh what joy & fun they made together.) In his absence she let us love on her, but she loved on us, too.
Every night tucking her in, I’d say, “Mama, we love, love, love you!” Repeating it loudly so my brother Dwight would hear his cue to come in. He’d kiss her on her left cheek while I’d get the right. Then she would say, “you know, I love you!” We have her notes, often slipped stealthily under our doors. It was painfully hard for her to write, but how precious now her words, like gold.
When she couldn’t even speak that last bedridden week of Hospice, at one point she reached her spindly skinny arms up around my neck into a hug – a final embrace of her love that I will never forget.
It’s hard to be mother-less on Mother’s Day. But I am grateful for the gift of my precious Mama’s love, and the legacy of her love – the love of God in and through her – shared in so many ways over so many days and years of faithful mothering.
Mama, we miss you! We love, love, love, love, love you!!!
grace, peace & Mother’s Day blessings
Virginia : )
p.s. Here’s a poem I wrote for Mother’s Day years ago while working overseas. I sent it to my sister who printed it out & put it in a frame as a giftie for the actual day. Several folks requested a copy after Mama’s Memorial service (where I read it under sibling pressure that all of us should share something!)
The Mystery of Magnificent Motherhood
On Mothers Day we celebrate the mystery of Motherhood. From the outside, Motherhood doesn’t seem so mysterious but just simply the mastering of responsibilities and physical tasks. Responsibilities that include raising children to know right and wrong, not to hurt themselves, to study, and to grow from turbulent twos through the terrifying teens into functioning adults. Physical tasks involve delivering babies (washing them, carrying them, helping them walk) cooking, cleaning…
These, admittedly, amount to a great deal of work.
Magnificent Motherhood, however, is a mystery that involves more than just responsibilities and tasks. To understand this mystery, special qualities are required:
Magnificent Motherhood is SACRIFICE.
Selflessly sacrificing (all the time) & the last piece of chocolate cake.
Magnificent Motherhood is JOY.
Joy even when illness strikes, the pots overflow, & we act unruly..
Magnificent Motherhood is BEAUTY.
Beauty seen in us (even with pimples) & nurtured in our surroundings.
Magnificent Motherhood is GENEROSITY.
Generously sharing special gifts, checks, and Mr. Madison’s fudge.
Magnificent Motherhood is MUSIC.
Music composed in a heart overflowing with the joy of Jesus.
Magnificent Motherhood is ACTION.
Hugging us, holding our hands, and helping us through each crisis.
Magnificent Motherhood is PRAYER.
Unceasing prayer – faithful communion with God (often on our behalf.)
Magnificent Motherhood is FAITHFULNESS.
Faithfulness to God (1st), and 58 years (!) with the Fabulous Fossil.
Magnificent Motherhood is LOVE.
Love shared from an inner spring that never diminishes…
It’s actually very simple.
The Mystery of Magnificent Motherhood is
Virginia Francis Johnson Woodward
With love & appreciation from her daughter,
Virginia Lea Woodward