I read a post at 5:00 this morning that my new friend Kevin @ osborne2029 wrote about his mom. I had seen the post a couple of days ago, but something told me that it would be a tough read, so I had to wait until I was emotionally stable to read it. It reminded me so much of my own mother and really touched my heart to write about my mother, especially since the realization last night that in order to find understand my new life and love myself again I need to go back to the love my mother showed me. For that reason (and since December will be the 10th anniversary of her death) I decided that I needed to write a post about my mother.
My mama was widowed one month before I was born, leaving her a single parent to a child she thought she would never have (hence the name Joy). She was so protective of me at first that I slept in bed with her until I was like 5 or 6 years old and decided that I was ready to sleep in my “big girl bed” (I always had my own room, but I had slept with her since infancy). I have never in my life known a love as strong as my mother’s love for me. To say it was unconditional would be an understatement. I was the “joy” in her life, the light of her eyes, and her proudest accomplishment. I even remember when she got sick going to the doctors office with her and the doctor telling me that she was glad to finally meet me since apparently, my mother had been bragging about me instead of talking to the doctor about herself. That is love.
My mama was one of the most patient and soft-spoken people I have ever come across. She rarely raised her voice, and instead of spankings I would get lectures because she thought that if I understood what I had done wrong I wouldn’t do it again. Actually, I received exactly 3 spankings my whole life, and she cried for having to do it and I still got the lecture. As I grew up, I remember actually wishing that she would spank me instead of the lecture because it took less time and hurt me less (I couldn’t stand the thought of doing something to make her not proud of me – of course, I could never do that…she was always proud of me). Even when I was eighteen and told her about the one time I skipped school to go to the mall in the city with my best friend after she had distinctly told me not to, instead of reprimanding me, she just shook her head and said “Joy, Joy, Joy” and laughed along as I told her about the craziness of the day. See – unconditional love and immediate forgiveness. I strive everyday to be more like her. I do see things about myself that are like her, but she was the perfect single parent – she never drank, never smoked, never dated. Her whole life revolved around me. Was that healthy…well I’ll leave that up to the philosophers, but to me she was perfect and I would be proud to be exactly like her.
I was reflecting after reading the post this morning on the life and death of my mother. I knew that I needed to remember that unconditional love that she felt for me in order for me to find that love for myself again. Then the thought came to me that if my father was still alive I would still have his love to learn from and WHAM! I do have a father, actually I have two. But there are writings about one’s love for me that have been here all along. I still have my Heavenly Father. So, I suppose I should start going back to church. I had stopped going because I could no longer sit on the wood pews and get through a service without being in tears from pain. I feel my mother showed me that connection because she knew I needed to see it. I NEED to go. So if I have to carry my ugly cushion to church with me, then I suppose that is exactly what I will do. If nothing else, it will get me to the point where I don’t care what people think about me carrying a cushion into church (which will help with the accepting myself with a disability part) and I will get to hear stories about how great God’s love for me is (which will remind me that that kind of love didn’t die with my mother like I thought it had). I had every intention on going to the Saturday evening service, but I fell asleep, so it looks like I will be going to the 9:00 am service. I usually don’t function that early, but the church is close, so it shouldn’t be too bad. The hardest part will be getting ready to go and then still feel like going. I know that He understands if I can’t go, but I really feel moved right now to go…I feel like I NEED to go. So, it looks like I will be up early (possibly with coffee instead of tea) to go to church (next week I will try not to fall asleep so that I can make the afternoon service…not as many people will see me with a large, ugly cushion on Saturday afternoon as they will on Sunday morning). Ok, maybe I need to rethink going in the morning…baby steps, Joy. Baby steps.