My mother had asked us to call her Peggy from our early childhood days, perhaps anticipating the day she would lay aside her mother role for friendship’s garments. Peggy had been the first to know when we were expecting our first baby. Her beautiful dark brown eyes had lit up with joy and excitement, and she immediately began making her own preparations for the event. She told me that she wanted to be called “Nana” instead of grandmother, a name that conjured up in her mind too austere a picture and not the friend she was determined to be to our children, even as she had been to us.
I will never forget bringing David home. I thought of a prayer that Peggy had told me she prayed every day: “Oh, God make me a good mother.” I knelt by my bed and I prayed too – adding, “like Peggy.”
Most weekends in the summer while we were living in England, Father traveled up to the nearby Lake District with friends to fish for salmon. Sometimes he brought Mother and left her with me for the day. How I used to look forward to those special visits. As we chattered together, we would laugh all day as Peggy set the pace and made the humor, constantly poking fun at herself. We busied ourselves with diapers and cleaning and cooking and bed-making, keeping up an endless repartee of recollections.
One of the most basic lessons I learned from my mother was her sense of openness and honesty. She could never bear to harbor anything and had to “have it out” as soon as possible. She always had to tell us what was on her mind and clear the air. My sister practiced a similar philosophy. But for me, it was harder. Telling half the truth, resorting to a little white lie, or taking an “anything for peace” stance never seemed to do me any harm, but, whenever she could, Peggy pushed me into being truthful in my statements and actions. She encouraged me to put things right with people immediately. It took the Lord Jesus Christ to change me and begin to help me tell my feelings and failings openly and honestly with people.
Peggy always respected Shirley and me and “trusted us twice” – a skill mothers should cultivate. To trust once requires not much more than most can give, but to trust again when trust has been abused requires another quality of confidence altogether. That needs a belief in the child, a determination to think the best, and a confidence in God’s intervention when everyone believes the worst.
What marvelous trust God placed in us, I thought in awe. And what a risk He took! Fancy allowing us the chance to build eternal values into our children’s lives. God had given us the ability as parents to guide our own, and as far as Stuart and I were concerned, that meant guiding them into the way of Jesus. I realized it was this dimension that made a Christian mother different from just a mother. She had the grand ability to know God and make Him known to her child.
Yes, I could teach our children the Eternal’s ways, I thought excitedly. But there has to be the training of example to go along with it, I mused. The do-as-I-do that I had seen in Peggy’s life and that I could seek to emulate, and not just the do-as-I-say bit.
What lessons have you learned from your mother? If your mother is still alive, send her a letter or a card telling her one lesson you learned from her example.
Happy Mother’s Day,
Just Between Us Magazine