At the age of 24 (this week!) and married, I am now beginning to understand my mom's heart. Elias and I don't have a child of our own yet, but when we do I'm sure I will have a better grasp of what my mom went through with me...ugh gosh. Come to think of it, I think she didn't know how to deal with me most of the time because she was only my age when she was rushed to have me. She is still advising me today not to have a child too early and just wait a little longer. Indeed, it must've been quite difficult for her to give up her prime for a baby who would do nothing but sleep and refuse to feed. I know that she wanted to venture out more, see more things, have more dates, and spend more time with her girlfriends. But my dad was seven years her senior and was in a hurry to start a family. But being rushed wasn't even the hardest part of it all. Having converted in high school through a friend who brought her to church (praise God for her), she was the only Christian in her family. She really didn't have an example of a godly mother raising her children in truth. She was the pioneer in this scary adventure.
For this reason I am all the more grateful that she had me and raised me the best she could. I want her to know that her sacrifice was not in vain, and that I always enjoyed our sister-like relationship thanks to our small age gap.
To honor her, I have compiled a list of great wisdom she has imparted over the years:
1. Hosting people is a joy
No wonder I love hosting today. My parents ALWAYS have people over and my mom loves cooking for them. God has graciously given us a home where we can host bible studies, birthday parties, and even baby/bridal showers. We love having people over and just make memories in the space that is given to us.
2. Get a gift that you would want to receive
My mom is THE hardest person to get gifts for. She is so picky and doesn't have a particular style. While I have tried to pick something a mom would wear, most of them have been failures... But she told me that the rule of thumb is to get something I would like, even for her! Something classy, something stylish, and something not too cheap. And I think that's a good rule when gifting anyone you care about.
3. Always make yourself useful and be diligent
Because she started a family young and stopped working soon after, she always taught me to develop a skill that can last. Even after marriage and having children, she wanted me to make myself useful and be productive—especially after the children have grown a bit. That's partly why I wanted to start my own business and take advantage of the internet. This is something I can continue to do regardless of the life stage and location.
4. Don't brag too much
I remember feeling unimportant time to time when I heard other moms bragging about their children and my mom often remaining silent about hers. Was there nothing good she could say about me? Was she not proud of me? She was always hard on us, being frugal with compliments but generous with advice and criticism. Today, she admits her wrongs and shortcomings. But looking back, I see that my mom was still an example of a humble woman—considerate of others, not too haste with her tongue, and quick to listen. I saw that other women often came to her to just unload their burdens and seek her advice. I have to say, it would take a lot more effort and grace for me to become like that, and I do pray God will mold me that way.
5. When you are wrong, admit it
I am just getting better at this, especially with Elias. What I will admit is, it's easier for me to admit my fault with my friends than it is with family. Elias and I have had many arguments since our dating days and I often would refuse to apologize first even when I should. My mom and I have always talked, shopped, and fought like sisters, and she really was the one to apologize most of the time. That is not because she was always wrong, but because she was more mature than I was. She would sit me down and say sorry, but I always found it excruciating to say it back to her. If that isn't the proof of my sinful nature, I don't know what is! I need grace...
These are just a few examples of practical life tips my mom has demonstrated in her life. Fear is the first thing I feel when I imagine myself as a mom, but I believe it's a scary road for everyone. Peace is in knowing God will always glorify Himself through His children, and it is in surrendering to His will. So I have faith I won't be alone in that journey when the day comes.
For this special occasion of celebrating mothers, I really tried to go above and beyond to create the new collection of cards. The "White Peonies" card took the longest for sure, because I wanted this one to be more realistic and detailed. It's slightly different than my other work but I was quite happy with it—probably more work like this coming in the future :)