Snapshots of a Mom

by Laura on May 8, 2012

I have snapshots of my mother stored away in the photo album of my 30-something-year-old memory.

There’s the picture of her singing resolutely “It is Well With My Soul” at a funeral– my dad’s, a 35 year-old father to four.  Then there’s the picture of a gaunt face and a bald head- hers this time, as cancer once again visited our family several years later.  And though disease stole breath from my father and a year from my mother’s health, she refused to let it steal her faith or her joy.  And I have the photos to prove it.

I scroll through, and I can see snapshots of her sitting in the early-morning dark in prayer, her cheering from the bleachers embarrassing-loud during games I often sat the bench, and her dramatically directing summer musicals for a rag-tag group of kids.

My memory album holds images of her reading aloud C.S. Lewis {as we all cried that Aslan really died}, images of her building forts on rainy days, pictures of her from the front seat dolling out complicated clues to mystery trips.  

I can see her teaching my sunday school classes, and I remember that time she literally stood with her heels on top of her marked-up Bible to tell a bunch of sixth graders that we should stand on the Word of God– no matter what.  

I see her in cream as she marries again and in pink when she holds her first grandchild– mine, a girl.

I have an image of her at airport after airport, as she died innumerable small deaths– deaths to her own dreams of watching all her grandbabies grow up close, of birthday dinners and soccer games and long conversations in the flesh and over coffee on normal weekends. And I’ve watched her die them with grace and trust and a commitment to the Kingdom that outweighs everything else.

Mom, words will never express how deeply grateful I am to have such pictures of motherhood over my years as your daughter.  My memory album is full, of you

Thank you that the photos you created were happy ones that encouraged me to always, always look up.

Mom and I {My Third Birthday}

Happy Mother’s Day, friends. In honor of my own mom, I wanted to re-post this piece {with a few edits} I wrote for her in 2010. It all still rings very, very true.

 Have a snapshot of your mom that you’d like to share?  What was your favorite moment with her? And how are you going to celebrate her this year?  Even if you aren’t going to physically be with her?

Related. Injustice of Skype  |  Leaving and Being Left  | And Then, They Came {Video of My In-Laws Visiting Us}

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  • Amy Stewart

    love Love LOVE this post, LL. She is such an amazing woman and I am grateful everyday that she is my Mom. Enjoy these last few weeks with here there. Love you.

    • Laura

      from my friend Aubrey on Facebook about my mom . . .

      “It took me four attempts to read this out loud to my mom. Tears have a funny way of cutting off the air supply. I remember many of those same moments. I clearly remember singing “It is well with my soul” and seeing the glow on your mom’s face as she sang it. I was mystified by it then. But now, partly because of her, I understand a bit more. I have a crystal clear memory of her standing on top of her old bible, giving us a concrete picture of standing on the word. Some might say it was disrespectful to stand on a bible. But i was learning from a woman who stood hard on the Word of God, not just a book. And I never forgot it. I could write too many pages for here of all the snapshots I have of miss Brenda in my own memory album. I just wanted to say your memories are shared by many, and thanks for writing it. All my love to both of you!”

    • Laura

      Yes, I agree, sis. We four are much better because of HER. love and miss you, too.

  • Steven Abels

    Some days I find it overwhelming to live up to the good fortune God gave me when he chose my parents. I think about how selfish I can be, impatient I can be, unforgiving I can be, relentless on myself and people around while persuing perfection, and just plain human and sinful. Amy and I talked this weekend about how Dad’s death affected (sorry mom if I should have used “effect”) us differently. I found that I put my dad on a pedestal, turning a blind eye to his imperfections and only seeing his hero like qualities. Then I think about Mom and her undying love for me despite my shortcomings. How she prayed constantly for God to help me find my way AND I feel overwhelmed. How can I ever reach that pedestal or stand up to the name that was so graciously given to me. This is a huge burden to walk around only wishing to be as good as your parents. As a man we only want to provide a better life to our kids than was provided to us. How can I accomplish such a task? How is my 2 year old going to be able to view me that way? He has got to know that I am weak and flawed.

    Then I realize that there is an alternative to this pressure. It could be to not have anyone there to pray constantly, to not have anyone there to set an example, to not have anyone there to show me God loves me, to not have anyone there to express unconditional love for me and I am thankful. My wife says sometimes I put so much pressure on myself and make my life more difficult than it needs to be. I guess this is one of those times!!!!!

    In my career, I help people leave a legacy to their families. Mom, you have left the best legacy to your 4 kids and it has nothing to do with material things. Your legacy is YOU!

    I love you! Steven.

    • Laura

      Wow, bro. Maybe YOU should be the blogger. Well said. Honestly and tenderly and truly. I have no doubt mom will cry when she reads your response. I love that final statement that our legacy is in our characters and not in our stuff.

      and p.s.– you are an amazing man, btw. love you. L

  • Logan

    I remember those moments too Laura…and as soon as i started reading, i remembered your mom standing on her Bible. What a lady….we are all better for having touched the tip of her robes (because she most assuredly wants those to look like the robes of Jesus!) I cried reading this…so so true…all of it!

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  • Debbie


  • Beverly

    What wonderful memories of a very special Mom !  Cherish them always.  This brought back many memories of my Mom, too.  Thanks so much.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Thanks, Beverly!

      Happy Mother’s Day to you this weekend, too!

  • Elena_crow

    Awesome Laura… I would have to say that I am very blesssed to have been your neighbor and to have (as Logan says) touched the tips of her robes. She is such a great woman. Many memories of her and our youth drama club!!!! She always brings such JOY and truth to things she touches.

    • lauraparkerblog

      Youth drama club– hilarious, right? good times, my friend, good times . . .

  • Molly Huggins

    When I was seven-ish, maybe a little younger, my mom suggested that we make each other (my  two sisters and I) aprons for Christmas. We were ecstatic. We got to sew (like mom), we got to make things that we could use in the kitchen (to be with mom) and we got to do it all with our mom. I have never forgotten that month …. we had so much joy in the making. To this day it is my favorite childhood Christmas memory. There’s more to the story, but in the interest of brevity, let me just say that it wasn’t until I was an adult and recounting my memory (and joy) of this time, that I learned the truth. 

    My dad didn’t have a job that year and we had no money, none, for presents. My mom was grasping at straws to provide us with Christmas gifts. She was so worried. So she took four .99 dish towels and fabric scraps and made Christmas about the giving. Made it about joy. That was the only (material) gift we received that year. And I still remember the expression on my (wealthy) friend’s face when I told her about my Christmas gift (singular). She was mystified at my excitement over a single apron. 

    That is the legacy I’ve been given. That is the legacy I want to leave. Joy in the giving. So thankful for my mama.

    Love this post. 

    • lauraparkerblog

      What a neat story of motherhood. This touched me today. Thanks for taking the time to share it. . . .sounds like a pretty amazing lady.

  • Tamara Buttery

    OH!  Bawling through this post as the sweetness and the palatable love of your mom is all smoooshed together w/ memories of my mom and memories of being a mom.  Thanks so much for the early-morning cry! 
    Now that my kids are far-flung, I identify w/ your mom’s dreams dieing a little at the airports and know too well how it felt to my mom to put me on a plane going across the ocean when I was 20, then watching the grandkids get into cars or planes to take them far away.  And yes, what grace she showed to NOT LET HER PAIN SHOW to us.  That grace that made us oblivious to the little deaths in her each time and provided us with the freedom to go and do what we were meant to do.  So, though it makes me cry and makes me wonder if I’m able to impart that to my kids/grandkids, the photos in my head of my mom telling us to have a great trip [smile/don’t cry], have fun [smile/don’t cry], explore [ smile/don’t cry], can’t wait to hear about it [smile/don’t cry] are my great memories this morning.
    Bless your heart and Happy Mother’s Day to you!

    • lauraparkerblog

      Sigh. I love how you write these comments, Tamara. They are posts in and of themselves.

      Happy Mother’s Day to you, friend.

  • Terissa Miller

    Oh Laura!  You look so much like her…in that pic of you when you were a child…it could be a shot of YOU as the mama, now…!  What beautiful women you are, the both of you.

    • lauraparkerblog

      oh, thanks for your kind words . . .

  • Kelsey Shaw

    I love this so much! My moms mom died right after my mom got married (at 21). I can’t imagine what my mom went through knowing that her mom wouldn’t be around to see her grand kids or help when one of us was misbehaving. My mom is my best friend. I never take a day with her for granted because we never know what God has planned. Thank you so much for painting us such a beautiful picture of your mother. I love it :)

    • lauraparkerblog

      Oh, wow– so fun to hear from your sweet self, Kelsey. I think the older we get the more we appreciate our moms, dontcha think? Love from here, girl!


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