My mom is a spectacular person.
My mom has things to say. She's full of great ideas. My mom is the idea queen. My personal favorite of her ideas was for Dad to quit his job and for us to open a Sonic in Rhode Island, but this does in no way exemplify the quality of her ideas. She has vision. She's been teaching beginning public speaking for maybe five years, I think, and she just started a slew of three of those classes yesterday. I get to be the helper in one of them, and I listened rapt as she explained to the class her plan to take over the world. I had heard a similar speech given to the parents on orientation day, and also earlier in the day at debate class, but it was even more fascinating as she hammed it up for the stone-faced thirteen year old boys. "My email address is my name, I guess that's a misleading email address for a superhero, but, I'm working on it."
"I have three lives, okay? When I'm not teaching here, in one of my other two lives, I'm a nurse," and she explains to her students why they cannot contact her on Mondays. My mom's been working as a nurse almost non-stop since college, which is a long time to be sticking people with needles. I would want to be a nurse, except she's told enough horror stories about naked patients wandering around the CCU or being attacked by dogs on house visits that it doesn't sound like a terribly fun job. [That and my stomach still starts to free fall every time I walk in a doctor's office.] Just like my dad, my mom works hard, and she's good at her job. Aside from her profession, though, she works tirelessly at these classes, teaching twice a week at Good Company Tutorials, teaching women's Sunday school at church, and somehow managing also to homeschool her kids, keep the house clean, be involved in NCFCA, and even run errands. My mom is a busy person.
"In my other life, which actually permeates all aspects of living," she continues speaking to the class, "I love Jesus so much." This was intended to explain to her students that they can't contact her on Sundays, either, since my family spends nearly the entire day at our church, but instead she gets sidetracked into sharing the Gospel. She doesn't feel self-conscious that these kids probably believe in God already, and she doesn't care that almost all of them come from Christian homes, she just loves Jesus and couldn't shut up about Him if she tried. Every conversation she has with anyone about anything is somehow in the end about how good God is. Her eyes are peeled for opportunities to minister the gospel, and she lives 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in an extremely literal sense. Jesus is the most important thing about her, and to talk to her there are no doubts of this.
Also, I am realizing as I sit through this class, my mom is hilarious. "No one ever gets my humor, and it's quite annoying," she complains once we're back home. And it's true, her sense of humor is unique, and often leaves my dad shaking his head and us kids with an expression of, "I can't believe you just said that." But I love her teasing and sardonic style, some of my favorites being, [when I took Caleb trick or treating] "Don't get hit by any cars, and don't take candy from strangers!" and [during family devotions time] "Oh no. My whole family is going to hell." I am constantly laughing at the bizarre and hysterical things she says, and most of our acquaintances have no idea how hilarious my mom is. And the things that make her laugh . . . I love hearing her crack up over something, because invariably that makes it ten times funnier.
My mind starts to wander towards the end of the class. She's always sharing her special ice cream with Maggie and Caleb. We went to Quincy Market to get gelato, and when I hated the gross kiwi-flavored, she switched with me. My mom drives me and my siblings everywhere, somehow managing to work her busy schedule around ours. Maggie didn't have breakfast the other day, and ended up eating the breakfast that Mom had originally started making for herself. Every special treat she gets gets passed around to us kids to try until there's only a fraction left for Mom. There is so little in this house that is solely hers because her kids get into it -- that would drive me crazy, but she doesn't get angry over it. And maybe it's just a mom thing that I can't understand, but it really blows my mind that she is so consistently and gladly sacrificial.
I have been so blessed. If I could make a list of the things my mom's told me, over and over, that I will never forget. I can't count all the Bible verses I have memorized just because she's quoted them to me so many times. Her intention spiritual instruction, all those car ride discussions, it'll stick with me for a long time, I think, and so much of who she is is part of the reason I am who I am. My mom treats people as people, regardless of their age, and has always listened to what I have to say with the same gravity that she'd listen to what her peer had to say. She has pushed and challenged me, she has endured my libertarian and feministic rants, she has imparted all the gentle rebukes and parental wisdom she has to give, and she loves me and her family and Jesus so very much. My mom is a spectacular person. And I guess it's weird, for a teenaged girl to aspire to such a thing, but as much as a I want to be an individual and my own person, I also kinda want to be like my mom.
And if I've learned one thing from her, I will not forget, "I will always fail you, but God is faithful and He will never leave you."