I have a terrible memory. It’s on the list of things I wish I could change about myself…BUT I’ve figured out how to make do with this brain that I’ve got. For me, writing things down (especially stories) really helps my memory…and maybe that’s one of the reasons I love writing so much.
After my Mom passed away, I found a scrapbook she made showcasing my elementary school accomplishments. Taped inside to one of the yellowing pages was a handwritten note that said this, “MOM I CAN’T HELP IT BUT I LOVE YOU”. It was written in all caps without any punctuation on what used to be my favorite stationary that my grandmother had given me.
I am not sure if my love of writing started with that blue and black cat stationary or if it just correlated with learning to write, but either way, my first profound quote as a writer came in first grade. “MOM I CAN’T HELP IT BUT I LOVE YOU”. I don’t remember writing that sweet note to my Mom. I don’t remember if I wrote it for Mother’s Day. Or wrote it just because. Or maybe I wrote it because I was grounded and stuck in my room with nothing to do but write? But what I do know is this. No matter the relationship we have with our mothers, we love them. It’s beautiful. And summed up adorably by a first grader, we can’t help it, it’s the way things are supposed to be.
Even though it’s been almost ten years since I heard her voice, I can recognize and appreciate some of her strengths that I truly couldn’t see before I became a Mom. I am grateful for the lessons she taught me then and the new things she is even teaching me now.
She always used to tell me, “everything happens for a reason”. This was her “go-to” phrase when I came to her with a problem and often times, even when I didn’t. During my parents’ divorce, I heard this phrase. As a tearful teen with a broken heart and through harder times as an adult, these were always her words. This phrase that’s followed me my whole life. I see it now as wisdom.
I recognize now what she was saying all along. You have to have faith, sweet girl. No, life isn’t fair. No, life isn’t always kind. For the negative experiences life brings your way, there are 100 positive ones. Without challenges, how do we build character? Can you know what true love is without feeling what true love isn’t? For all the pain and suffering and sadness you will experience there’s usually another season right around the corner filled with smiles and laughter and if you are so lucky, a cup of coffee on a back-porch swing on a Saturday morning with your Mom.
As I encounter new challenges that I don’t understand, her words ring loud in my ear. Everything happens for a reason. Have faith.
And I do.
I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Mother’s Day quotes and my favorite verse on faith.
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it's filled with joy and laughter and a day of celebration for that Mom you can't help but love.