They say that nuts don’t fall far from their trees, and although I was one of those nuts who fell and then rolled thousands of miles away to Alaska, you will find that the similarities between me and the “tree” from which I fell are rather uncanny. I have her features, her “blond” hair, her her love of music, and her twisted sense of humor. I carry her stories, her songs, her laughter and her tenacity. I built my life on the faith she taught me in the unfailing God of the Bible, and I wouldn’t be the same woman without her.
Mom always said her hair was “mousy brown” and not ever being fond of mice, I think it was the catalyst for her love of dying her hair blond. Most of my growing up years she was a strawberry blond mom. I called her hair red, but she informed me that I was incorrect. Once in awhile she would return to her natural color, but not for long. Blond hair seemed to match her bright personality which always bubbled with humor and love. I remember her always as an outgoing friendly woman that all of my friends loved and respected. I remember one day in the fourth grade when she came to my classroom to bring in cupcakes and punch to celebrate my birthday, the boys in my class turned to me in astonishment saying, “That’s your mom?!? She’s beautiful!” I knew it, and now my fourth grade class knew it.
My mom wrote songs from as early as I can remember. She wrote a theme song for my brother and I when it was time to clean up our rooms. The story of the song revolved around an “Uncle Henry who in 1984 fell into a pile of clothes laying beside our door. Poor Aunt Martha was grieving, living in depression and gloom, but we could reunite them if we’d just clean our room.” She wrote songs of humor and nonsense, and she wrote songs of ministry, healing and love. I loved to hear her sing her songs. Just she and her guitar made the most beautiful music I had known. She sang about God’s love, about His sacrifice, about His forgiveness. She still writes and sings about the love and grace of God. My life is woven in the fabric of her songs.
With faith that moves mountains, my mom parented and raised three kids. Many of those years as a single parent. I am grateful for the hours of prayer she invested in my life and the lives of my brother and sister. I can call her anytime, anywhere and her first responses to my crisis or need will be to pray. I love to hear her pray! My mom fell in love with Jesus. She learned about the Love of God and His mercy by living her life wrapped up in Him. She lives it. Those of you who know her know that her tenacity and courage come from a deep well of experience in a never-ending river of the love of God.
If you have ever heard me tell you that “I love you from the heart of my bottom!” You have my mother to thank. For the many words of endearment, crazy phrases, jokes and off-the-wall humor, I can trace the beginnings to that wonderful, crazy, gracious woman. I am forever bent and warped in my humor and view of the world thanks to my creative and hilarious mother.
With many gentle reminders of the stretch marks she bears from carrying me nine months in her womb, to the astounding exclamations that I weighed 9 pounds 3 ounces at birth, comes the love of my mother. As she would brush my naturally curly, mostly knotted hair and I would wince and cry she would say “It hurts to be beautiful!” (Something I now tell my girls while brushing their hair). But beyond a mother’s guilt and humor I hope to pass on her heritage of faith, love and prayer. I hope my kids will weave their lives around the faith of their grandmother, and parents while they grow strong and steadfast in their own relationship with God.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother Cecelia Ann Schwartz!! You’ve given me a heritage wrapped in songs, stories, humor, grace and love, and I am so proud of you!! I love you from the heart of my bottom!