Tonight, we celebrated our grandson Carter’s birthday along with celebrating all the mothers in the family – both here and no longer with us. As has become our family custom, we went around the table and each of us recalled something about Carter that we cherished and remembered throughout his life. Kristin actually remembered something that I had forgotten from the day that Carter was born when I finally told the doctors to stop trying to take a blood sample from his heel after a number of failed attempts. I guess that I have been protective of the family for as long as I can remember.
It has often been said that if you want a hug, go to Janet – and if you have a problem or need something fixed, come to me. There’s quite a bit of truth in that. And it’s probably because I learned that stuff from my grandparents and my own mother. This spring, I have been thinking more often about my own parents. Tonight, after going around the table offering our remembrances to Carter, we did the same thing about all the mothers in our family. I couldn’t help but recall some of the things that I learned from my own mother.
Mom was one of those people who knew what she wanted and knew enough people to get things done. Tonight, I recalled how we would go down to Marshall Fields’s in the Loop in Chicago and Mom knew almost every sales person in the store. To be sure, there wasn’t much turnover – Helen Pelling was in the television section, Don Moet was in interior design, Marie was our server in the dining room for our entire childhood and there were too many more people we knew to even mention here.
I still have the water buffalo horn chess set that Mom and Dad bought for me in the game section on the first floor for my 13th birthday. We got it from Mr. Kostakes who ran the game department. In fact, my parents couldn’t really afford the set I eventually got. It had two mismatched pieces and Field’s was going to send the set back to the manufacturer. However, they agreed to sell it to Mom and Dad at a deep discount after a little coaxing. Otherwise, I would never have ever been able to have a that kind of chess set. There were definite benefits to being related to Mom!
And we never waited in line in the dining room on the 7th floor. Mom knew all the hostesses and servers – as well as the hand signals that were used to flash information across the large dining room floor. Mom would signal how many of us there were – and in a minute or two, there would be an entire conversation going on – all by hand signals – about where we would sit and what section Marie was serving in that day… In a flash, we would be heading into the dining room – sometimes Miss Pelling or another of Mom’s old friends would be joining us. What a way to grow up – Mom knew everyone.
Mom also had all her clothes custom made. That came up tonight as well. I guess that I had taken that for granted, but Kristin, our oldest daughter, recalled that tidbit from her memories of my mother. And Mom was a world class cook. Chicken Oriental was the annual New Year’s Eve dinner and Kristin recalled how she learned to sift flour to make a German Chocolate cake from Mom. To say the least, memories were flooding back.
Janet’s mother was one of the kindest people I have ever known. She never had a cross word for anyone – I still miss her as well. I remembered how she would offer me a lemonade or something to drink when I would cut their grass as a youngster. I actually earned $1 a week for cutting their grass each week and I was elated when I was raised to $1.25! My future mother-in-law was awesome. I was very lucky to have her in my life for more than 55 years…
Mothers are important to our families. In many instances, they are the glue that holds a family together. They are fiercely loyal and protective of their children; and many times they smooth over the rough edges that need to be handled in so many families. Many times, they also have a huge impact on future generations. They are safe…
Our verse for tonight comes from the apostle Paul and his second letter to his young pastor friend, Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy that his faith comes from his grandmother and his Mom. Paul tells Timothy, and us, in 2 Timothy 1:5, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”
My encouragement tonight is that mothers are the glue that hold most families together. I know there are many folks who have lost their Moms, or don’t have the best memories of them, but for most of us, they left an indelible mark that cannot be erased. My prayer is that we will remember the best in our mothers and appreciate the sacrifices that they made for us so that we would have better lives than they aspired to. I can’t help but think that is the goal of many selfless Moms out there. To all of you moms who have impacted our children, Happy Mother’s Day, and to you Carter, a very Happy Birthday. We love you… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…