By Michelle Charisse
It’s Mother’s Day. I take my place on stage, test the microphone, and scan the hotel restaurant where some friends and I are about to perform. Most of the 200 people who came for the Sunday brunch are mothers and daughters—young mothers with little girls, elderly mothers with adult daughters, short round mothers with tall slender daughters, and some who look like they could be sisters. There are a few sons and husbands, but they are greatly outnumbered by the women, who are all radiant. The reception desk is heaped with individually wrapped pink roses, the hotel’s gift to the mothers on their special day.
As the opening chords of our first number fill the room, I feel my mother’s presence. The lyrics remind me of her. “Surround me with the little people…” Mom brought eight little people into this world, each of us her favorite in some inexplicable way. “I want to be held in the everlasting arms of eternity…” Those arms hold her now. It’s been seven years since she died of cancer. My dad held her in his arms till she took her last breath. We kids still hug her goodnight as we say our prayers. Now she’s in Jesus’ arms for eternity. I blink away the tears.
“Laughing and singing, what a way to live…” Now I think about my stepmom, who I love just as dearly and can only think of as “Mom,” whose voice I heard on the phone just days ago. As usual, she was full of laughter. If there is one person who knows what it means to live, it’s her. “Life ain’t worth living, if it’s not to give…” I can see her now, giving tirelessly as she cares for my dad and their eleven children who are still at home. (Three of us are grown and living abroad.) Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, giving.
A young mother gets up from her table and dances through the restaurant with her baby girl in her arms. The baby laughs. She is secure. She is loved.
Then I realize why I can smile and laugh and come halfway around the world to show other people God’s love. It is because I have been blessed with the love of not one, but two mothers—one who had to leave me but is ever near in spirit, and one who came when I needed a mother the most. What am I doing, fighting back the tears? I am secure. I am loved. God has blessed me in double measure.
Text courtesy of Activated magazine. Photo by Kathleen Zarubin via Flickr.