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A Public Display of Affection (for Mom)

Grandmother and granddaughter enjoying a summer afternoon hammock
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways … ” -Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnet 43
Mom taught me how to cut Andy’s hair. Six times (at least) she has stood at my elbow coaching me, setting up supplies, playing with my baby, then helping with cleanup. Every time she gushes about Andy’s thick hair and every time she assures and encourages me.
Mom and I read the same things from the library. She places holds on what I have; she lets me borrow her own borrowed books. She taught me how to place an interlibrary loan. She taught me to love nonfiction and to peruse the new release shelves.
Mom swaps ideas with me. She is my primary source of movie, book, and recipe recommendations. She fills me in on family news and helps me navigate confusing realities. She is well-read and knows much about plant and human life (also quite a bit about animal and bacteria life). She listens well and counsels wisely. She is knowledgeable, wise, and loving. For all of these reasons I value her thoughts.
Mom believes in me. She tells me I can write. Last year she let me write something about her—a tender tale—and then she let me publish it. She told me afterward that I took something ugly in her life and made it beautiful. Her saying so made me feel like I had a gift with sharing. She makes me want to try.
Mom loves Lucy. She lets her eat PB out of the jar, and she takes her on walks to meet Papa. She keeps goldfish crackers on hand at all times for Lucy (even though Mom is gluten intolerant). She reads Barnyard Dance well past the point of annoyance. Sometimes we all go shopping, and Mom takes Lucy exploring while I try on clothes—this is love for us both. Lucy is my whole world, so to love her is to love me.
When the car breaks down, Mom is there is an instant. She’s jumping the battery, picking me up from the mechanic shop, positioning the car seat in the back of her own vehicle, lending her car, babysitting during oil changes. Honestly, my mom is the reason we have reliable transportation. (She is the “reliable” element of that phrase).
When I teach REFIT®, Mom is there. She brings a friend, she holds my toddler, and gives me honest feedback—better than honest, it’s encouraging. Once she came up after an hour of choreography with tears in her eyes, gave me a particularly squeezy hug, and whispered, “Keep going. You are beautiful, and this is a perfect fit for you.” Those words have inspired me to continue even when crowds wane and self-confidence flags.
Mom lets me stop by any time. And I do. I sit at the counter and jabber while she pulls leftovers out of the fridge for lunch. I sometimes stay for hours, and she makes herself available. Then Lucy and I sit in the backyard and watch chickens while Mom gardens, and everything feels right in the world. I know that she has things to do, but Mom makes me feel like priority number one.
I am nearly thirty, and I still do laundry at Mom’s house. I do this in part to avoid coin machines, but more especially because I like to be with Mom. Laundry takes HOURS, you know. We plan dinners and share lunch and do a lot of chatting. Laundry day is the best day.
So whether it’s cutting hair or exchanging books or eating peanut butter out of a jar, I love my Mom. I am grateful for Mother’s day as an excuse to count the blessings that she brings to my life.

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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0 Responses

  1. Such a sweet tribute to your mama! Love the way you write. Makes me want to blog and grow up to be just like you.

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