On your birthday, I want to remember a few reasons that I love you so very much. In no particular order, here they are:
1. You care. Have I ever told you thank you for caring when I call you rejoicing about the tiniest baby victories, and milestones or caring when I call crying the blues because a small thing had made my day a challenge.You’ve always cared about the deeper struggles as well – and the very difficult moments in life. If I called and asked if you could come down here, you absolutely would (& have).
You care about others so much too – “Open arms leave the heart unprotected” you’d say. You consider loving others worth the risk – thank you for your self-less example.
2. You’re passionate. As a Schaper, by blood, you’re usually more reserved with your emotions – on the surface, anyway. But I know your heart and how your love for God, Daddy and your family are purpose-giving for you. You’re also passionate about caring for children, educating them, loving and enjoying them – thank you for the way you’ve educated me in these areas.
3. You’re very, very wise. As a young person, I remember thinking “so and so” was really something cool. And you would say, “Things aren’t always as they seem.” You’d not gossip about their problems or bother my young mind with details, but you’d just remind me not to be fascinated with people and surface things.
4. You’re beautiful. Last time I was home Shar and I were watching you and I said, “Isn’t she the most beautiful lady? Her skin is just perfect – rosey blushed cheeks, gentle eyebrows, gorgeous blue eyes…” I’ve always considered her to be the most beautiful lady I know.” Shar said, “Have you ever told her?” I don’t think I have before, so I am now… And I know you well enough to know that the beauty on the outside is just the beauty on the inside coming out.
5. You’re humble. In the last year or so I’ve thought more about this part of you…who a person is comes thru in difficult times. When there were challenged in our family, I remember hearing you crying out to God as you knelt at your bed. God used those moments to melt my heart… Your humility before Him stood you tall before me.
6. Possibly my favorite aspect of you as a mom: you don’t freak out. Or I could say, you have perspective.
You let me cook and make messes and mistakes - you didn’t freak out.
You let me cut Dad and Charlie’s hair – you didn’t freak out.
I was sorting thru old papers and found a letter you had sent to Bro. Knight at school in response to a letter he’d sent home to you about my misbehavior as a freshman. You were kind and direct and taking responsibility for my behavior even though it probably embarrassed you a lot. I never knew about that letter till a few days ago. It wasn’t something you decided to confront me about and made into a huge issue. I’m sure you prayed though…
It was that year that I called you from class and asked you to come get me. I was really struggling & felt I was at a critical point spiritually. Which crowd would I go with?? There were two crowds pulling and I had to choose. I knew I was at a decision point. You came and got me and I don’t remember how much we talked, but it didn’t involve lectures. You let me cry and work thru it and I went back to school. Looking back that was probably a turning point in my life.
You listened while I declared I’d never go on another date after that first one. We ended up laughing a lot about that.
When I was 15 and our relationship was a little strained, God sent healing in the form of a baby boy named Jareth. You called Peggy and told her to tell me that you were coming home and bringing a surprise. I met you in the driveway and was very shocked to see the tiniest baby I’d ever seen in a car seat in your car! He was jaundiced and needed a bath, but he was so precious. It was love at sight for our whole family, but especially me. You taught me how to love and care for a baby thru those months, years. He was like my own and I admired your motherly know-how. That tiny baby gave our relationship a breath of fresh air – he gave us a common goal – remember he gained a pound a week for a couple months! - and gave me something to do in those difficult growing up years.
Another moment comes to mind: a few days before graduation I stayed at a friend’s house with several girls from our class – we got the bright idea that my hair needed to be a little more blonde. We got the stuff, did the deed, shrieked laughing in the mirror at my very blonde hair…then I realized how permanent this was… I called you the next morning & told you I’d done the stupidest thing ever… you said come on home, it would be fine.
I still remember walking in to the office to your twinkling eyes telling me it was no big deal and we’d try to fix it. I think you told me about something similar you’d done when you were my age – and we laughed and I cried.
I wish I could say thanks for everything, but I don’t think there’s enough paper in the world. You’ve loved and cared for me as only a Mama can – “thanks” seems so small. But Thank You. Thank you for the grace, the gift of your unconditional love & the million ways you’ve shown it thru my almost 32 years.
All my love,