Saturday, October 22, 2016

Isn't she lovely?

This is a picture of a sixteen-year-old girl on her wedding day. Virginia Isabel Brooks Mortensen Overby. She is my mother. She told me that right after this picture was taken in Valley City, North Dakota, her young soldier groom would lean over to kiss her, swerve onto the shoulder of a lonesome country road, and get ticketed by a police officer the only $50 they had. He was charged with reckless driving, but neither one of these two were ever reckless. Not a single day of their lives.

My mother would spend the next 53 years married to her best friend, through many moves around the globe.  She'd finally earn her high school diploma in Japan,  after giving birth to her fourth child. She'd raise four children, love sixteen grandchildren, and welcome great-grandchildren into her world. She'd earn the respect and loyalty of hundreds of families and businesses who relied on her acumen in real estate. She'd fight breast cancer in her forties and win, play tennis in her fifties and win, and keep her revolving front door open for all of us to enter and depart. She'd knit and sew and paint and bake. She'd write and call and read and relate.  She'd bury her beloved at Arlington National Cemetery after a terrible battle with throat cancer.  And four years later, she would be laid to rest beside him, together once more.

My mother was always, at her core, a homemaker.  She shared that legacy with me, and with my children. She valued her role, yet was always her own person.

I miss her every day.

When I meet someone with eyes as blue as a summer sky, I think of her.  I'll talk with a store clerk with smile wrinkles on her face, and I'll think of my mother's deep dimples. There's a tiny feisty funny lady who comes to church who makes me long for my mother so badly I want to cry. I see my mother's dry sense of humor in one daughter;  her common sense in another.  I see her devotion to family in my son; her sense of honor in my oldest child; her beauty in another.

I was so lucky.

Today I'll go to a Hallmark store and pick out a mushy card that I'll never mail.  I'll reflect on all my mother gave me; none of it material.  I'll offer up a prayer, and another, and another, that I was given the gift of a beautiful mother.

If you have your mom on this earth today, go hug her, call her, reach out to her.  One more time.