Mom with her new Chinese Pashmina and me--her only daughter!
I have been thinking a lot lately about leaving legacies. What are my children going to remember? How are they going to be different because of their life in my home? What skills have I developed that give them foundations of confidence?
I am just now flying on a plane to Dallas to visit my own mom in Canton who is 86. I wanted to spend a couple of days with her over the Mother’s Day weekend because I don’t get to see her very often any more and because I so appreciate the legacy she left me.
When my father, who worked with IBM, met my mom, she was a systems engineer with IBM. She was a new generation feminist who had a job and was working and making her own way. But when my father proposed to her, he said, “One of my requests, if we get married, is that you stay at home and are available every day for our children, so they can have your influence on their lives.” What that meant for my mom, was to pick us up from school, to be available to us, and to build a good home base.
My mom didn’t understand the whole concept of passing on righteousness to the next generation, or discipling her children, but she was committed to making our home a place of beauty, love, traditions and where marriage was foundational to our family’s unity.
When I was a teenager, I remember that my mom would rush about the house every day around 5 pm and she would say, “Quick, you kids help me straighten up the living room and kitchen. And then she would light a candle and put on music. Next she would cut some cheese and place on crackers or put out some small snack. Then the finale was painting her lips with the ruby red lipstick I so well remember.
One day, I asked my mom, “Why do you do this every day and go to so much trouble around this time.?”
She said, “I want your father to come home to a wonderful environment—that home would always be the best place to be. You see, your daddy is surrounded by beautiful secretaries every day, who are paid to meet his needs. So, I want him to feel that it is even better to come home, because someone he loves has given effort to meet his needs and to give him extra reason to be faithful.”
My mom was also a lot of fun. One day, on my birthday, I awakened to a pathway of pennies outside my door. I followed them through the house and it led to a pile of birthday presents—even the smallest present from the dollar store, was wrapped in fun paper. Also, on the breakfast table was a cinnamon roll (the Pillsbury kind) and orange juice and a little card that said, “Happy Birthday to my wonderful daughter.”
I don’t remember the presents I received that year, but I do remember that my mom went to great lengths to create fun.
We did not read scripture often at our home, but we did go to church regularly where my dad was an elder. I remember that there were 3 verses that were my mother’s favorites. I don’t even remember why I know them, but she must have repeated them often enough for them to stick. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” “If God is with me, who can be against me.”
My mom and dad were gifted at hospitality. We had people in our home for meals every week if not several times a week. They also used to have big dinner parties—for between 50 and 100 people. As children, we were expected to help. We would help clean house, cook food, mow lawns and put out flowers and candles and decorate the house. Then, we were expected to answer the door, greet their friends by looking into their eyes and welcoming them. We would also be given trays of food to take around offering people a treat or drink of some kind. It was a part of our training—to make all of us comfortable with talking to adults, serving people in our home and engaging in conversation. It prepared us to be comfortable with paupers or kings. It also gave me a heart for hospitality—it was second nature after all the years of opening our home.
When I would come home from college, my mom would have notes all over the house—at the front door, in the kitchen, on my bedroom door and on my bed, “Welcome Home, Sally!” and “Yeah, Sally is home!” There would always be some of my favorite food in the kitchen—homemade chocolate chip cookies, and all sorts of other goodies. I always felt loved and welcomed and couldn’t wait to get home.
My mother modeled to me that mothering and building a family was hard work and it took place every day. But it shaped me in such a way, that it prepared me to be responsive in my heart, when the Holy Spirit stirred, to see motherhood as a calling—a Biblical design from the mind of God, for passing on righteousness to every generation. My mother’s hard work prepared me to be able to have a ministry to other moms because she was faithful with what she knew to do. Her love and commitment and personality was such a wind of life to my soul.
So on this Mother’s Day, I honor my sweet mom, Wanda Bone, for serving the Lord by serving me, and my brothers! And she didn’t even know she was setting me up for my life’s work.
Happy Mother’s Day, to all of you who work so diligently in the big and small details in life. Just as my mother, you are just as surely building a legacy of memories, love and values in the hearts and minds of your children. You may not even know what miracles are taking place in your home or how you are preparing your child for a great purpose—but God will take the fish and loaves you offer to Him as worship—and multiply your work into a miracle that will truly influence the whole world as you send your wholehearted children into the world from your laboratory of life. Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus to you!
PS Thanks to Mill Creek Ranch Resort for letting me use their internet to upload this article!:)