Friday, May 06, 2011

My Mother

Me and Mother (she was about 26)
Here it is .... almost Mother's Day, almost six months after losing my mother from this world. I started writing this months ago, but couldn't finish. Maybe now, I can add to it. Here's where I started ....

Today is my mother's birthday, January 24. Exactly 10 weeks ago, I watched her pass from my presence to His. I am asking Jesus to give her a hug for me. Love you, Mom.

I knew that day, 10 weeks ago, I knew that someday I would write my thoughts about her. I will try to paint some words for others to know her too. She was truly beyond description. My words will be snapshots, not a panorama.
My mother, Ruby, was the 9th of 11th children, but the other 10 would tell you that she always acted like she was an only child. Not that she wasn't close to her siblings; they are all close. But she got a lot of the attention of her family. Actually, she was the center of attention any time she walked into a room.

She was born at the beginning of the depression and dust bowl days of Oklahoma. Even though her family didn't have much more than the basic, physical necessities of life, they were rich in relationships - lots of love and support permeated the Ferguson clan ... and still does. Amidst those conditions, Mother always had an eye for nice things, very good taste. She passed on to me a love for the beautiful things in life.

Ruby was the perfect name for her - she loved red, whether it was her lipstick and fingernail polish, or her clothes, or the decor of her home. Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. She even started dying her hair red. She said she did it to match the color of my kids' hair.

Mother would have loved to be an actress or singer or model, something on center stage. But she wanted a family even more. She did everything she could to get my sister and I to take up the quest. For those who know me or Sherry, you know that we aren't center-stage people. I wonder if it would even be possible, we always seemed invisible compared to Mom. She was beautiful and vibrant. No one could compete with her presence.

Mom had to be one of the warmest women a person would ever meet. She made everyone feel special, she would just wrap her arms around you as she talked and suddenly you were enraptured. She was always inclusive, never exclusive, when it came to people. She didn't give birth to a son, but that didn't matter. Our husbands became her "sons-in-love," no in-laws or out-laws at our house.

Mother (57), Jacquelyn, Laura
Her love never ran out, it just multiplied. She loved her kids. She loved her GRANDchildren.
She decided that was the role that God had made her for. She spent time with them, took them to the park, made cookies with them, played tea party, each one thought he/she was the favorite grandchild.
Zac and Mom (76)
She lavished gifts on those she loved or anyone in her path. She was stopped for speeding one time, not far from home, and had a couple of quarts of fresh strawberries in her car - so she gave them to the policeman. I am pretty sure he escorted her home rather than giving her a ticket. Every where I turn in my house, every drawer I open, behind every closet door, are reminders of Mom. If she saw something she liked or thought we would like, she would buy several, made sure we all had at least one of this new favorite find.

After growing up in rural Oklahoma during the depression and WWII, she knew that education was the way up and out. She drilled into us the importance of reading, doing well in school. We never questioned whether we would go to college, it was just where we would go - even though she never went beyond high school. She read a lot to us, but rarely read for her own pleasure. My sister and I both love reading to this day. She would say that the only book she read all the way through was the Bible, but that was enough.

I never had any doubts about my own capabilities. She would not allow my sister or I to say "I can't do ____ ". She would say, "you may not be able to right now but you can do it someday." I thought I could do anything; it was a real shock to me when I learned that I probably couldn't do everything and anything. Her love and encouragement gave me a confidence and security that most people never have.

We have had a lot of holidays and birthdays in the last six months. Each one has been hard, because Mother made every holiday a celebration. Actually, every time we were doing anything together was a celebration. She passed away the day after my 60th birthday. She had been in the hospital for almost a month. She was very sick, but she made sure that Jacquelyn bought me something for my birthday from her.

She loved to cook. She took up gourmet cooking after my sister and I were grown. She taught me that if you can read, you can cook. Our meals were lavish and abundant. She rarely sat down, she was constantly serving us.

Most of all she taught me to love Jesus. We always went to church. But it wasn't just something we did, she really lived it and believed with all her heart. It is important ... the most important quality to impart to your children.

Mom wasn't perfect, but she was exceptional. I hope to honor her and her Lord with my life. I am seeking to make her godly qualities more and more a part of my life. I will try not to grieve her absence as my mother but to focus on being the mother and grandmother that she taught me to be.

My Father who art in heaven, I know you hear me. Tell her I love her and I miss her.