That is a picture of my mom and her favorite pet ever, Coowee. I miss my mom. Her name was Shirlee Ann and means bright meadow, princess. She was named after Shirley Temple but changed the spelling of it following her divorce. I think she just needed to find her new self and that was a part of it. She gave me her middle name as well so that I could be a princess along with her. I was and am grateful for the mother that God gave me, she was exactly the mom I needed. Not only me, but many of my friends thought she was a really neat woman and several showed up to say goodbye at her funeral and to support me. Since that day, I made a commitment to be more like she was in this life. Her funeral was so full that it was overflowing from the overflow section, that says that people thought a lot of her. She really did offer grace and love to others in a way that made most people’s hearts feel warm and loved by her and by God.
Mom and I had a tough relationship at times, I think all mothers and daughters do. In my 20’s, especially, I thought I knew everything. I think that is how the 20’s go for a lot of us. That is the decade that we are branching out on our own and we want to make our own mistakes. Of course, we don’t really think we are making mistakes but we are. Looking back I wish I could have learned a little more from the mistakes she tried to share with me, but I was too broken and too hard-headed to listen. The one thing that helped us in that season was me having children. Once a daughter has kids, they need help, at least I did. That is when I figured out that I most certainly did not know everything, that is when our true bond began to deepen. She and I got to spend a lot of time with one another since it was only us living together for a few years following her divorce from my dad. Even though I went off to college she didn’t plan to move on with her life until I was married, so she stayed single to get me raised. All of her life stressors, and my life stressors made relationship difficult during those years, but I felt like I might have known parts of her that no one else got to know.
Life with children is not easy. I’ve told young people that children are not for the faint of heart and that is more true for me today than ever. I know my mom spent a lot of her time and energy on me. She did the best she knew how with what she was taught, and she loved me and I always knew that. But, she was still a bit of a tough love mom. When I made choices that fell outside of the moral boundaries that she taught me, she let me know and she let me face my own consequences. Having grown children today, I can only imagine the pain she had to endure because of her love for my brothers and me. My brother and I have talked about the regrets that we have because of pain we caused her in our adult lives. I know that when I look back I sometimes think I could have been a better daughter in so many ways, but I have been taught recently that it is prideful to think I could have done anything different, so I try and keep my focus there.
I need my mom now more than I have ever needed her. There is very little that I wouldn’t give today to have one more day with her to tell her how much I appreciate the way she loved me. She would get so hurt by me or upset with my choices, but I always knew she loved me and she was always there for me. This morning I was reading about the prodigal son returning to his loving father and it made me think of how she accepted me back every time I messed up. Sometimes she didn’t even make me face the consequences of my choices by bailing me out, I was grateful for those times too. I need her wisdom and knowledge today so much and I don’t have it. I’m asking God to give it to me and I know that He will, but for right now I am feeling lost. This is my tribute to my mom, I pray all of my readers were blessed with at least one parent who loved like Shirlee Ann loved.