I just hung our flag out in honor of Memorial Day. As I stand and watch it in wave in the breeze I think about how it is good and right to remember those who have sacrificed for our country. And I think about my Mom…
Yesterday we had a family get together. We all squeezed into the living room after lunch and my children shared memories of their childhoods. They talked of building forts and wrestling, of reading Little House on the Prairie and of lunches out with me. They recalled memorizing Bible verses, and fighting, and strategizing together.
Some of it was new to me. They remembered kindnesses and grudges towards each other. There was even a sincere apology born out of a growing maturity.At one point my mother-in-law said, with tears in her eyes, “There is so much love and joy in your family.” And it touched me and warmed my heart and I knew it was true.
And then I looked at my own mom, seated next to me on the couch. She was unhappy and stressed out. She just wanted to go home. She couldn’t enjoy our gathering. She didn’t know us. She had no memories to share with us.
And yet, like our country wouldn’t be the land of the free if not for the sacrifices of our troops and forefathers, so my family would not be what it is today if not for the sacrifices and love of my mom. She taught her children how to love and surrounded us with care. She kept us safe and healthy, warm and well-fed.
When we got older and some of us had moved out, she gathered us together for family parties and fed us delicious food and laughed and sang with us and cuddled the babies and chased the toddlers and basked in the sweetness of it all. She taught me so much about making a family of love and joy.
We remember those who have fallen to protect our country on Memorial Day. And we honor their sacrifices by doing all we can to make and keep our country strong now. And we show our respect by setting out flags.
My family is part of Mom’s life work. It’s a part of what she gave her life and energy and love to. She cried and prayed and worked hard to raise her children and help with her grandchildren. I wish she could recognize us now. I wish she could understand how much we treasure the legacy she’s given us.
I’ll try to honor her sacrifices now by doing all I can to keep our family strong. I don’t have a flag to fly in respect of her, but I will think of her with love every time I bake her homemade chocolate cake and use the other recipes she blessed us with.
And I’ll picture her laughing and her eyes shining bright and her beautiful smile. And someday, God willing, I will cuddle a grandchild and chase a toddler—and my heart will remember with gratitude my dear Mom and the legacy she passed down to us all.