Growing up as a kid, I was blessed to be surrounded by many loving family and friends. I have two younger brothers and an older sister and we are all very close in age. Of course, as kids we had our arguments and fights, but for the most part we got along pretty well. I must say my parents who have been married for 41 years raised some great kids. My coming to prison was definitely out of character as to what you would expect from someone in my family, but that’s a whole other story.
What I wanted to write about today is my mom. I know Mother’s Day has recently passed, but it’s never too late to write how important and impactful both my parents are to me.
In elementary school each year there would be an essay contest on “My Mom is the best because….” The winner from each grade would get a framed copy of the essay to be given to his or her mom on Mother’s Day. Each of my siblings was awarded first place at least once during our elementary school days. Here is the winning essay I wrote:
My Mom is the best because she takes me to a whole bunch of places like Six Flags and Cardinal baseball games. When we are at stores and if want something most of the time she will buy something for me but not all the time. She says I need to save my money. My Mom also puts me on sports teams and she sends me to a good Christian camp that costs a lot. Even though she can barely afford it, she still sends me because she knows I will enjoy it, and she gives things up so I can go.Every Sunday she also drives me to church and Sunday School so we can worship. My Mom is the best and I’m glad God put us in the same family.
As a kid I took everything my parents did for granted. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I really appreciate EVERYTHING they did for our family. I don’t think I’ll ever realize the amount of time my mom spent in a car driving us around every single day to our countless numbers of sports practices, games, and activities. And then at the same time she made sure we always had three meals to eat each day, clean clothes to wear, and always helped us with homework. How in the world can one person have time in the day to accomplish all of these tasks? The house was always clean, too. She dusted everything ….there was never a speck of dust in the house. Funny story, though…the reason why my mom cleaned every room and crevice in the house was because it was her way to snoop around and see what kind of mischief we were getting into. There was nothing that we could hide from her. She found everything. One day when I was away from the house and she was “cleaning,” she stumbled upon some money that I had hidden years ago and had forgotten all about. So I guess her “cleaning” was good some of the time! HA!
I never saw my mom smoke or drink alcohol, and I only heard her curse once in my entire life. We were on our way to a basketball game, and she was driving us, of course. It was raining, and a car suddenly stopped in front of us. While my mom hit her brakes and was skidding towards the other car, out slipped the “D” word. Thankfully, she didn’t hit the car. But my siblings and I all looked at each other in shock and couldn’t believe what we just heard. We all silently chuckled. She was human after all!
She taught me countless numbers of life lessons, set amazing examples, and poured out her love each and every day. One of her favorite lines when she punished one of us was, “This hurts me more than you.” I definitely learned from my mistakes, especially when it came to being grounded and missing my sports games because of a poor grade.
One of the best qualities about my mom is her love for Christ. She would always find time (I really don’t think she ever slept) to spend with God. Whether it be a devotional, reading the Bible, or in prayer, she would always put God first in her busy schedule. She is definitely an imitator of God. She gives, gives and gives again. And she always got us up for 8am church every Sunday morning so we could go as a family….and then she taught Sunday School at 9:30. Heaven forbid if we ever had a sports game during church because church always came first, and we had to miss the game. I was never happy about that, but today it definitely helps me with my decisions when conflicts arise between God and other activities. God needs to come first.
One of my favorite quotes I had on my bulletin board in my room she wrote was, “No matter how I’m acting on the outside, I keep loving you on the inside.” She is definitely not to blame for the mistakes I’ve made in my life. She set the bar high and has helped me become the man I am today. She is by far a role model to many, especially to me, and one I strive to be like every day. My mom is the best because no matter what I do or how I act, she continues to love me unconditionally. Thanks, Mom. I love you.
(My Dad played an important part of my life too…..but that’s for later!)