My mother was amazing. This is not hyperbole, trust me. She just was. She was the last of the June Cleavers, always in her house dress (although not always in pearls). She was involved in our church and politically active. She even wrote a column for our community newspaper. But her family took top priority and she invested an incredible amount of energy in making sure our lives were wonderful.
I can still remember coming home from school to the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. She hosted weekly tea parties for some of my grade school friends and me, where she taught us manners and how to sew and embroider.
No one had Halloween costumes or parties like I did, thanks to my mother. She could have had a career in fashion design but she preferred to design elaborate costumes for me. I still remember the year I was dressed exactly like Disney's Snow White. She also designed a costume for my nephew who was six years younger so he looked like Doc, one of the seven dwarfs. We were the hit of the school costume parade. When I had my singing telegram company she was the chief costume designer and babysitter.
As for parties, they were legendary - holiday dinners came complete with elaborate centerpieces designed by Mom and kid and teen parties could involve anything from crazy games to a fortune teller (thank you Dad for letting us dress you up!). No one ever wanted to miss a party at our house. Hospitality was her gift as well as my father's and fun and games abounded.
Especially, as I mentioned, at Halloween. Mom and Dad weren't big fans of trick or treating. They came from a generation when trick or treat meant juvenile delinquent behavior. But Mom subscribed to the philosophy that if you had to take away something from a child you should have an alternative to offer. So I got to party. (And show our closest neighbors my costume and wish them happy Halloween... and hope they'd give me some candy. Which they usually did.)
Then there was me, Costume Disaster Central. We won't even go there. Moms these days are lucky. They can go to the store and buy something and their kids will be perfectly happy. My kids... well, there were good years and not so good years, and there's not enough space here to go into some of the disasters that ensued. But, the kids did get to go trick or treating. And I inherited Mom's love of entertaining, so we always had parties, not only for Halloween but for birthdays as well... and for any other reason I could come up with. That is something I know I did right.
Other things, not so much. I didn't inherit my mother's patience and somebody was always getting yelled at. (I blame it on hormones!) All I can say is, I tried. And I still do. But I will never be the woman my mother was.
She's gone now and I miss her terribly. I try to honor her memory by doing for my family as much as I can. If you get my newsletter, you'll get the significance of the pictures I'm posting here, showing a luncheon we had in her honor a few years ago. The daughter-in-law, granddaughters and great-granddaughters are all wearing hats that once belonged to her. (My mom was a stylish lady!)
If your mother is still with you, I hope you'll be able to celebrate together this year and that you'll be able to honor her. Those years go fast. Savor your time while you can!
Next to Christmas, Easter is my favorite holiday. I love the family time, the hunting for Easter Eggs, getting a new Easter outfit. But mostly I love Easter because of the message of hope. Resurrection, new life! It's a time to stop and reflect on how much God has done for the disobedient humans He loves so much. Just as the trees begin to bud and flowers rise up from their sleep in the ground, so we, too, can have a fresh beginning.
I love that! I don't know about you, but as often as I mess up, it's nice to know that I can brush myself off and make a new start. Seeing the flowers come to life reminds me that hope can never stay buried.
You may be feeling in need of a new beginning, yourself, this year. I hope you'll take heart in the message of this holiday. Come out of the tomb and take advantage of the new life that Jesus offers. Leave the past behind and celebrate the fact that death is not the end. It's the beginning of a new, eternal life. He is risen!