Monday, July 5, 2010

When Moms Become Best Friends

I haven't told you much about my mom.

The only reason for this is because her personality is so dynamic that it's hard to squeeze it into one blog post. She's kind and tender, but she means business (ask her kids) and works harder and faster than anyone else I know. She makes us all laugh, and lightens the mood in awkward family dinners - we've had a few over the the one where my father told the foreign exchange student that guacamole was lizard poop and she shivered whenever we took crunchy tortilla-laden bites of the stuff for the remaining nine months she lived with us...or the one where Mom cooked a pot roast for international customers for my father and when he cut into it, we all discovered it was just a huge cow butt bone...Somehow, she shrugged it off with a cute joke and ordered pizza.

My mom is also the most supportive gal you would ever know. When my little sister had a crush on The New Kids on the Block (who am I kidding? She still does. Ben, did you know that?), she let her hang posters up, even while me and The Twin looked on in disapproval. When I made the freshman cheer squad, in a once-in-a-lifetime moment of graceful coordination, she started planning how we could earn money to pay for the uniform. I know pom-poms held no usefulness in her mind, but she went with it for my sake. The same goes for all of us kids.

It's the same reason she came to my house and enthusiastically slapped really bright paint onto my walls last week. Now, I must insert this here: this post is in no way obligatory. It should be. After all, the woman who is afraid of heights climbed an extension ladder and painted the trim around my 20-foot-high walls.

But this post is not about her service. And it's not because I feel like I need to say nice things about my mom. I do that on Mother's Day anyways.

Like I said, this woman cannot be put into one category, one post title doesn't do her justice. So, I'm only giving you a glimpse of her. Particularly, a glimpse of her yesterday.

A bit of background here: we went to our town Fourth of July celebration. It was hot and crowded, but a perfect day.There was a philharmonic orchestra and choir making patriotic music, grass for the children, and juicy watermelon to snack on. And there were lots of odd-looking people for the Littles to make embarrassing comments about. I smiled sheepishly when the Ticking Time Bomb pointed to a man driving a motorized wheelchair and shouted in a very excited voice, "Look at that guy? He's driving a monster truck! Flip it, flip it, Guy!"

When the kids got bored, Grandpa was there to keep them happy.

Then, the master of ceremonies asked those in armed forces to please stand.

That was my cue to get out of the lawn chair, grab the camera, and focus on my mom.

Because if you know her, you know what is coming....tears. Happy, tender, chin-quivering tears, especially since one of her son-in-laws just returned from Afghanistan. My dad would be a bit teary too, except that someone has to be strong around here and Mom does the crying thing so he's off the hook.

Right about now, she's giving me the "Don't Make Me Get Up and Come Over There and Give YOU Something To Cry About" look, upon which I zoomed in and took one more shot. Like any good daughter would do.

Do you see the little chin tremble? Oh, it makes me want to pinch her cheeks, she's so cute!!!

Then, Real Gil got in on the action, which really had us all laughing.

I think he was trying to keep his mascara from running...

It might have been a "had to be there" kind of moment, but even Mom was laughing by the end of his antics. I think we're all so relieved Uncle 'Keve is home and for the first time in nine months, we weren't thinking in the back of our minds about standing with American flags at his funeral. And we were so thankful for LIFE - life in America, life for our favorite Marine, and life as a family. Right down to the ice cream tears.

Thank you, Uncle 'Keve, for your hard work on our behalf. And for coming home safe and sound.

Thank you to the four men who did NOT come home from Uncle 'Keve's company. Thanks to their families who are enduring grief and questions and sleepless nights and life in a new reality without their sons and brothers and husbands.

Thank you, God, for this country I call home. It's not perfect, but it was established by You and I trust that You know what You are doing with it.

Thank you, Mom, for just being you, even if we tease you. And for being genuine. Thanks for being my best friend. I can't help but wonder if me and my girls will ever interact the way you and I do...time-outs and stern, mom-voices seem to abound these days, but then, I catch a little glimpse of what might be, years down the road...

(Found on my door this morning)

And I can't wait to be a mom-friend like my own mom!

Praying it happens, and resting in Him alone who will mold my daughters as they allow Him,

Resting in Him,


Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

This was beautiful!

What a tribute to your luminous Mama.... and then a note found on your own door...

The circle goes unbroken.

Every blessing to you!
The High Calling blog Community appreciates you!

All's grace,
Ann Voskamp

Brandi said...

Karen, Everything you said about your mom is what I think of you. Your children are lucky that He chose you to be there mommy:) Missing you and your fam right now!

WildCrazy said...

Beautiful post! I was laughing hysterically about "flip it, flip it!".

Karen said...

Thanks, Ann, for your kind encouragement. I PRAY the circle really does continue unbroken...God is gracious!

And dear Brandi, what I wouldn't give for a few day - no, even hours - with you. Praying that the house hunt went well...Missing YOU! -K