When I was really little, I remember imitating everything my mom did. If she drank Sprite with dinner, I drank Sprite with dinner. When she would change it up and have tea or Dr. Pepper, I was right there with her, making the same change. I don’t even know if I actually liked those drinks (I definitely don’t now), but it was just one more way to be cool like my mom.
When I was in Kindergarten, I had a friend named Terry. He wasn’t very nice to the other kids, but, for some reason, he was nice to me. I think it was mostly because I was nice to him first. I knew it’s what my mom would do—reach out to someone who needed love most.
When everyone came back from spring break, I noticed Terry wasn’t there that Monday. I assumed his family went on vacation and just hadn’t gotten back yet, going on playing with my toys and not worrying too much.
That afternoon, though, the principal came in to tell our class that Terry had died in an accident on the way to their spring break destination. I couldn’t believe it. My six-year-old heart thought it would literally break from sadness. I remember getting off the school bus and heading inside just to hug my mom for maybe the rest of my life.
I was heartbroken. When we watched the evening news and they discussed my friend Terry who died way too young, my mom sat there and cried with me. It didn’t matter that she didn’t know Terry or that we weren’t super close, just two kids who had shared a classroom and some toys. My mom and I shared drink preferences and broken hearts.
As I got older, things with my mom weren’t always so perfect. We had our share of fights as I started thinking being like her was the farthest thing from cool. She had Sprite to drink? I wanted anything but that. This didn’t last long, though, because we were just too similar.
Our fights were never very intense, and they were often more like two sisters fighting than a mother and a daughter. Our relationship had always been a lot like that. We used to have pajama days, where we’d make lots of snacks and watch tons of movies and wear our pajamas all day long. We just had fun together. I was a pretty good kid, making good grades and good decisions, so she didn’t have to play the “Mom card” often.
When I graduated high school, I decided to go to a college that wasn’t super far away from home. I commuted my first two years, coming home every night to tell my mom about my day. When I first mentioned this new friend, David, my mom immediately knew I liked him. I could never keep anything from her. I think she might have even realized I liked him before I did. Spoiler alert: We got married, so I think she was right.
When I moved on-campus my junior year of college, my mom would cry every time I would head back to school after a weekend at home. If my parents came to visit me for dinner, she’d cry as we hugged goodbye. I would make fun of her, saying she was being silly, it was only 45 minutes away, but I secretly loved it. I know there are so many people who don’t get to have a relationship like this with their mom. I know some people who haven’t spoken to their moms in years, so I am aware of how lucky I am to have the mom that I do.
The way my mom loves me always reminds me of the way God loves us. Sure, we love God, but sometimes we forget to read our Bibles or pray or we’re too tired to go to church. But, you know what? God still loves us unconditionally. God still wants to hear about our day, no matter when we make the time to tell Him.
When I still lived at home and had to drive a long distance, my mom would ask me to text her when I got to my destination so she would know I made it safely. Sometimes, I would forget. When I did eventually text or call her, she wasn’t mad at me for forgetting, she was just glad to know I was okay. Isn’t that how things are with God sometimes? When we forget to pray, He isn’t mad at us. But when we do sit down and pray and spend time with Him, He is so overjoyed. What a beautiful parallel God’s love and a mother’s love can be.
My relationship with my mom isn’t perfect. We still disagree on things sometimes and get mad at each other about pointless arguments. Sometimes she’s right; sometimes I am. That’s life. But I am blessed to have a mom (and a God) who loves me unconditionally, even though I don’t deserve it.