Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

         Today’s a really special day here. We’re cooking and baking and snapping green beans and drawing and writing, because Nobility is coming to dinner. Actually, my parents are coming to celebrate my mother’s birthday with us, and it’s fun to have a night to honor this wonderful lady who has blessed me throughout my life in so very many ways.

          Years and years ago, it was my mother who introduced me to great books, spreading before me a rich feast of literature. I remember curling up beside her while she read The Wind in the Willows, the Little House books, Charlotte’s Web and countless other favorites.

          It was my mother who introduced me to other cultures, taking me to the Festival of Nations, and sparking a deep interest in how other people live. While she was never big on camping, it was my mom who helped spark a love of nature, with picnics and park outings, lots of time outdoors (and little TV), and a tolerance for the many animals she allowed to dwell with us.

          She indulged my fashion sense with incredible clothes she sewed for me through the years. We were a team: as I got older, I’d pore through Vogue magazines, design wild and wonderful outfits, and find patterns and fabrics to bring them to life. She’d cut and sew for hours – I think she had the harder end of the deal! She taught me to love warm strawberry jam, just off the stove, and homemade bread, fresh from the oven.

          My mother gave me a blueprint for how to deal with the sometimes hazardous activities of boys. Frequently, one of my three brothers or another injured himself, and would holler, “MOM!” She’d call back, “Is it bleeding?”

          If the answer was yes, her next question was, “Does it need stitches?” If the answer was no, we were to carry on.

          The most important thing my mother gave me, though, was an example of deep and abiding faith and lessons in how to live it out. On the wall of our eat-in kitchen was a huge paper sign, a foot tall and perhaps four feet long, advising, “Let Go and Let God.” She meant it, and has always worked hard to follow that advice. She blessed me by seeing that I was involved in Bible studies and youth groups, even though the church we belonged to at the time didn’t offer those things.

          In terms of living her faith, one thing is huge in my mind. At Christmas time, she sought out families in need to bless each year. When I think back on the gifts she chose for each member of the family, the Christmas tree, the clothes, I’m amazed that she and my Dad did this on his teacher’s salary, while still providing wonderfully for all of us. The most powerful part of this, though, was bringing the gifts to the family, one of whom we visited for many years in a row.

          This family made such an impact on my life, when we were supposed to be the ones helping them: there was a single mom and her son, Carl, who had spina bifida and walked with metal crutches, and wore the old-fashioned heavy metal and leather braces used back then. His grandmother also lived with them, and she and his mom were both battling chronic illnesses. Despite this, they had the most cheerful, loving presence, and greeted us each year with packages of homemade cookies to take home with us. It might not have been easy to let others help them, but they were so gracious, and the effect of this was profound.

         She also taught me lessons in forgiveness, and I still have a small heart ornament she gave me after one of our many arguments when I was a teenager. She handed it to me with an apology, and that small thing meant so much that I've cherished the ornament ever since. I’m so grateful to my mom for her faithfulness, and for teaching me many lessons that shaped my future. She hasn’t stopped. She blesses our family regularly with the special relationship she has with each of our children, with her listening and ministering spirit, with her gifts of service and the shopping trips and lunch dates she blesses our kids with. She’s a blessing to many, but we are so very lucky to have her as our very own mother and “Nanny.” This is long, but fitting, so I'm including it all:

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 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.

Proverbs 31: 10-31
            How blessed am I, to have a mom like that? We love you, Mom. Happy Birthday!
Giving thanks, and

Trusting in Him,



1 comment:

  1. wow, this is so beautiful Amiee. You certainly are blessed to have your wonderful mom for a mother! Happy Birthday Aunt Lois!