On 12th December 2014, we left South Africa for a month’s holiday overseas. In the weeks preceding our departure I was packing, making lists, cleaning, making lists, washing, and making lists . . . I wanted to, no, needed to be prepared. Life’s busy, so I had to give myself sufficient time to ensure nothing was left out of our backpacks. I discovered that hubby needed another pair of jeans, he needed shoes, I needed lip-ice, and I knew there’d be more odds and sods to be bought before we boarded our flight.
As I cleaned and sorted out around the house, I came across a beautiful card.
My 2014 Mother’s Day card.
I opened it and read. In an instant, thoughts of my white, Finnish Christmas were forgotten. Thoughts of seeing the beautiful architecture of Budapest were forgotten. These images that I had yet to behold were replaced by the real reason behind my excitement for our trip as a familiar, loved face that I hadn’t seen since that January filled my mind. Soon I would see my youngest son again.
Kyle is a missionary in Budapest. We would spend a few days there with Kyle and his wife, Tiia, and then head over to Finland together to spend Christmas with Tiia’s family. It would be our first white Christmas, but it was going to be great because of who we would get to spend it with, not because of what we would see.
Inside the card were three messages—short, handwritten ones from my hubby and oldest son, Ryan, and a long, typed note from Kyle, printed and pasted inside.
Dear Mom! (Kyle loves exclamation marks…)
Mother’s Day has been really confusing for me this year… To my shock I have already had 2 Mother’s days in the last week. Can you believe that there are different dates for Finland, Hungary and South Africa! Well, I’m glad I didn’t miss it, I was convinced that had it happened in South Africa yet, someone would have let me know.
I think Mother’s day is all about honouring your Mom for all they do for us children… Thanks for being a Mom worthy of honour. For inspiring, for motivating, for hugging and kissing, for loving, for leading, for teaching, for caring, for feeding, for cleaning and for every time you helped to discipline us into the men we are today. I think the way to honor your Mom and Dad is to show the world the good fruit that they have sown. Pretty Biblical too. I hope we can both, as kids, show off the good fruit we have grown.
Love you lots!
In between all my packing for overseas, I had also been preparing an author interview for a blog I was to appear on in December. One of the questions asked of me was: “What is your greatest accomplishment?” I thought for just a moment. Publishing a book? Two? No. For me, there was only one answer. “Raising two awesome sons.”
I wiped away the tears that threatened as I closed the card. There’s a tear off bookmark and I decided it was time it found a home in my Bible. I removed the rectangular cardboard which said, “A mom holds you in her arms for a while, and you hold her in your heart forever.”
Later that morning, I wiped away more tears, ones I could not contain as I read another message. My mother wasn’t well. Diagnosed a few weeks before with heart failure, we could see life finally taking its toll on her, and the awful truth became a reality. We wouldn’t have her for much longer.
The bookmark reminded me that no matter how long I still have with her on this earth, my mother would always be in my heart, and that mom and I have an eternity with Jesus to look forward to.
As I read the WhatsApp messages that followed between my siblings and nieces on our family chat group, I prayed that as a daughter I had done enough, said enough, to make my mother proud. But I knew if my mother were asked: “What was your greatest accomplishment in life?” her answer would be a resounding, “Raising four awesome children…two sons and two daughters.”
What would you answer to the question? What has your greatest accomplishment in life been?