Weekly - if not daily.
I guess a lot of you really liked him.
I get it.
He was very likable.
For the uninitiated, he was killed in a car accident 14 year ago.
It would surprise many to know though that I actually don't have 10 memories of him.
I asked my mom once recently, "Where was he?"
She simply replied, "He was just gone all the time."
Let me tell you what I do remember.
I remember my mom read me this book over, and over and over....
And this one...
And this one...
And this one...
And I am still an avid reader today. And so are my children.
I remember getting lots of gifts from my mom that included....
I remember that she was a very good colorer.
She made very small crayon strokes and stayed "in the lines" crazy good.
Admittedly, I don't value staying in the lines in quite the same way, I still crave creative activity. I like having paint all over my hands, making things, and drawing. Crayons, markers and fingerpaints still make me happy and I prioritize creative activities in my life. My children do too.
Even when I just know, looking back, she was as poor as dirt, she made sure I had one of these...
And one of these....
And one of these....
And eventually these.....
I really can't even imagine how she paid for it.
Some of my earliest and most pleasant memories involved riding in the car and singing 2 part harmonies with my parents or my grandparents...my mom always the alto.
And, I not only make my living with these still today...I create jobs and employ others to do it as well. When recently asked if one of my daughters could "play", I smiled and replied, "All my kids can actually."
Every. Single. Year. She scraped and saved and took us on vacation here...
With friends I still enjoy being in relationship with today.
She was the first to take me to do this...
And for a kid whose unknown love language was Quality Time,
with a dad who was gone tending to others all the live long day -- these trips she planned were a life line for me. And, she probably didn't even know it then.
I remember moments where she laughed til she cried.
She had bionic ears. Especially when she was suppose to be asleep.
She loved my dad. Enjoyed her friendship with him. Maybe that being the single greatest contribution ever made to me..and to my marriage...and to Elizabeth, Hosanna, Benjamin, Victoria and Eli.
She knew me better than I realized she did.
One day after discussing the possibility of marrying my pre-Billy boyfriend she simply said, "Shanna, I don't think you love him. In fact, considering the way you treat him, I don't even think you like him!" Gets a young girl thinking. And, well again, Billy and I are grateful...as well as Elizabeth, Hosanna, Benjamin, Victoria and Eli. ;)
She taught me how to wield sarcasm and speak in movie lyrics. Without which my family would have a lot less communication.
She taught me not to take myself so seriously.
Sure, I would occasionally get a card from my dad, but now that I'm a wife and mother, I'd bet a million dollars on the fact that it was my mom who had actually bought the card and told him to sign it. That's not a knock on my dad, but let's just say, I've bought more than one girl card and told B what he needed to do with it.
I remember beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts.
You would have NEVER seen this sort of simplicity under my moms Christmas tree.
You would never have seen cheap paper -- with Mikey Mouse or Snowmen.
Making the presentation of the gift exquisite, with the perfect hand tied bow, was important in my household -- it was a part of the the gift. She didn't know how to say it, words weren't her thing. But she was trying to express to us our value. I get it now.
Gifts were her love language.
To this day, I love wrapping my gifts in beautiful ways too.
Don't even try to bring cheap wrapping paper up in my house. My kids don't like it either. And hospitality in all it's forms for me, means expressing to you your value. And, I teach my kids that too.
Never once received or wanted one of these...
Our Easter Baskets were custom built. Every item thoughtful.
She didn't let me quit things. And, whereas I believe there is a time to quit some things...the ability to not give up saved my life in regards to turning my health around this past year. I see the same determination and "stay steady" attitude in my children.
In our adult life, she's not given up in the midst of her own devastating struggles. And she's taught me that loving your family is good. And forgiving yourself is paramount.
She's always valued nice clothing -- and made sure I had all the things I needed growing up. I took that for granted.
On Friday, I got a card and a check in the mail from her. The card said FOR VACATION CLOTHES. YOU'RE A SUPERSTAR.
Still making sure I have nice things. Still planning vacations for her family.
Today it's not wasted on me.
For all the Billy Touchton fans out there, again, I'm not knocking my dad. I am mostly just saying my mom lived in his shadow. And, today, I thought I'd give her the respect she deserved.
My dad had the luxury of having really good, Godly parents. My mom didn't. And the latter she had to ascend to become more, better -- to rise above that which she was taught to her and to learn that which was not demonstrated in her own growing up household far exceed his.
And she did well.
"She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.28
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:29
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”30
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.31
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."
Love you mom!