“She’s the type of woman I would want to be the mother of my children someday,” I thought, surprised that the thought even came. It was our first date, we had only known each other for 8 days, and prior to that evening had only had a few brief conversations. But as I sat next to her that evening, talking when we were supposed to be dancing, (it was a church sponsored Sadie Hawkins square dance) I was overwhelmed with the kindness and tenderness I saw in her.
I was certain she would be different from my mother. My mother was incapable of affection. Her alcoholism and mental illness rendered true maternal love impossible. Beatings outnumbered embraces, curses were common and kind words rare. As I talked to Lisa that night of our first date I realized there was something in her that I had never seen before, something powerful. I couldn’t explain what it was I saw at the time, but I was certain she would be for her future children everything my mother had not been for me.
37 years later I can say with confidence that my initial impression was incredibly accurate. Lisa is an amazing mom. From the moment our son took his first breath to today, she has been a model of sacrificial love. Watching her love our children these last 29 years I can now describe the heart that I perceived so long ago, the heart of a mom, a heart that-
-Sees our kids. She sees their desires, their fears, their hopes and their dreams. She sees them for who they are and for who they want to be. She sees the good in them, even when I can’t.
-Hears our kids. She listens to their stories with genuine interest. She is fascinated by every detail of their lives and every feeling and emotion matters to her.
-Encourages. She rejoices in every success, and comforts every failure or struggle.
-Feels for and with our kids. She shares every pain, every hurt and every tear. When their hearts break, her heart breaks as well. Even as they reached adulthood, she shared their pains and disappointments.
-Always put our children first and set her own interests aside. She always let the kids pick the TV channel and the radio station. She planned meals with their tastes in mind, and if there was any doubt as to whether there was enough food on the table she would take smaller portions to make sure they had all they wanted.
-Prays for our children, for their health, their faith and their happiness. Sometimes with joy, sometimes through tears, always with passion, she has gone before God on their behalf.
-Took the time to play with our kids. If she had a dollar for every game of Candyland, Uno, Sorry and Trouble she played with our children, we’d be retired by now.
-Laughed with our children. She delighted in their quirks and jokes, and responded with a joyous laugh that was filled with love, a laugh that is to me the most beautiful sound in the world.
Everyday, in every way, Lisa was and is a mom, a priceless gift to me and our children.
Lisa and I met February 5, 1982. 37 years ago this Tuesday. Our first date was February 13th. I am forever grateful not only that I was able to see her for who she was, but that she saw me for who I am, and loved me anyway!