Spring! Today marks the first official day of the new season, and around these parts it’s been a perfect spring day. Warm, but not hot, cool but not cold….just right. If I could live my days between the degrees of 68 and 86 I would be a happy, happy girl! But seasons change; the earth relies on the intense times of heat and cold to regulate itself, and I’ve come to expect it, even appreciate it at times (even when I’d rather keep the global temp. at a moderate 78.)
I can’t think of this day, though, without also remembering my Mom. Today is her birthday, and as long as I can remember, when anyone asked when her birthday was, she would first say, “The first day of Spring”, followed by “March 20th”, and always with a smile and a little twinkle in her eye. And true to her season of birth, she loved moderate temperatures, light rain, all types of flowers, blooming trees and bushes, and if I had to choose only one word to describe my Mom’s outlook on life, it would be…...hopeful.
Born in 1932 and growing up amid the rolling hills of Indiana, Mom (Lois Jean) faced her share of struggles. She was a dreamer and always imagined better days ahead – a trait that remained true through her entire life. She married twice, raised an extended family of children and step children and worked harder than any woman I have ever known. She loved to decorate and write and dance. She always coordinated her outfits, down to the glasses she was wearing and had a keen eye for beauty. She was an incredibly loyal friend, and gathered them up at each of the places her career took her like flowers in a bouquet.
After a fairly short battle with Parkinson’s Disease, Mom passed away last June, and I miss her. My sister and I met at Starbucks earlier this evening to celebrate this day together – to celebrate Mom, and as we shared memories, the thing we kept coming back to was her hopefulness, even at the very end. That, and even more importantly, her faith. And not just her faith, but the importance she placed on us learning and living out our own. Mom was a student of the Bible and found great comfort and also hope in the truths she found there. Often she would begin talking about prophecy and the soon return of the Messiah, and she would get so energized – so passionate – I’d be tempted to take a look out the window, half-expecting to see Jesus on his white horse accompanied with a host of angels! I’m sure what was what she was seeing in that creative mind of hers. =)
She prayed relentlessly for others, and especially for us, her family. I think I miss that more than anything – knowing she was praying every day for me. Of course, I also miss spending time with her, hearing her talk about all the different shades of blue and the pattern of new pillows she had seen in “Country Living”. I miss her asking how the kids were and delighting in their smallest achievement. She always dreamed such big dreams for us all. Hopeful dreamer. That was Mom.
So today, on the first day of spring – and Mom’s birthday – I wanted to pay tribute to her, and give thanks for the legacy of love, creativity, loyalty, hard work, helping others and more than anything, her legacy of faith in God, who held her close and whispered words of love and assurance to her, even at the very end. She has found the place she always longed to see! She is with her family she loved so and with the Savior she adored. I would soooo love to hear her tell me all about it. I think when we meet again, after hugs and words of love and welcome, she’ll take me by the hand, lead me around Heaven and show me all the new colors of blue. =)
Even as we are moving through this season of Lent, I think it’s interesting that Spring occurs in the midst of it. On the one hand, we are remembering and mourning the sacrifice of Jesus, made on our behalf, and here come daisies and daffodils that remind us that new life is not only up ahead on Easter, but it’s here….now! It’s a hopeful time. And if there is anything the world needs right now……it’s hope.
Love you, Mom….and thank you for everything. (Give the boy a big hug for me.) <3