I recently returned to Sidney from Montana, where I helped my adult daughter recover from shoulder surgery. During that time, I felt a twinge of regret that I was so far from my kids and my mothering is severely limited. My own mother had occasionally mentioned that she felt the same thing, with deep roots in Oklahoma but having to spend all of her married life raising a family faraway in Nebraska. I realized that there were many things I had never thanked my mom for. So I wrote her a letter:
I just wanted to thank you for all of the wonderful things you’ve done for me throughout my life. You taught us kids to use money wisely, and to share our wealth (as meager as it was) with those less fortunate.
You brought music into our home. You made sure we always had a piano in the house, no matter how cumbersome it was when we moved. You paid so dearly for piano lessons for all of us, and I’m sorry that I constantly fussed about having to practice.
You taught us to love and respect nature. Each of us kids have passed that love to our own children. By the way, the “forest” of houseplants you’ve given me are thriving!
Most importantly, Mom, I want to thank you for teaching me about Jesus. You made sure that we were all dressed up every Sunday for church where we’d worship the King. You told us Bible stories and strengthened our faith so we could feel the peace of Jesus Christ always. You knew that a church family provided connections of love and hope with families who help one another in times of crisis. And we are all so comforted knowing that you are in the arms of Jesus right now.
This is the first Mother’s Day that I won’t have you around. I can’t take you to the hair salon like you loved. I can’t bring flowers to you and see that smile light up your face. I can’t discuss the day’s news and watch your favorite Fred Astaire movies with you. And this year, I’ll walk into church on Mother’s Day without you.
Since you died last summer, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching. I really don’t know why I didn’t take the time or initiative to stop and tell you how deeply meaningful you’ve made my life, in a partnership orchestrated between you and God. I’m disappointed in my thoughtlessness. I hope you forgive me. And I pray that my own children and grandchildren would always feel bold enough to tell me if what I do and who I am are making a difference in the lives and in the world. I miss you, Mom.
Have you told your loved ones how much they mean to you? Do it now. Don’t let another day go by without humbly sharing your innermost gratitude with those you love. And especially give praise to God who sends us unmistakable messages of love every day!
The writer is the pastor at Sidney First Presbyterian Church.