I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with one of my dearest friends. We spent hours on the first night of our reunion reminiscing. I was reminded of the fun times together and even replayed the dark hours spent mourning the loss of a spouse. The ability to share those sweet and somber experiences has helped to nurture our relationship over the years. Some of the stories seem to have been revised over the last 30 plus years but worth laughing about nonetheless.
The thought of one day having to say goodbye to this friend is something that I am not ready to come to terms with. She has now moved on to another phase in her life’s journey. She is slowing down and often shares the sentiments that come from having lived a rich and rewarding life. In the early years I couldn’t imagine calling her anything but an angel. She was the prettiest person I had ever met, perfect in every way. I loved the way she poured her love into every hot meal, the way she smiled while tucking me in at bedtime and the way she told those sweet Bible stories as I drifted off to sleep. It was obvious she enjoyed meeting my every need.
I don’t remember my friend and angel being very angry or raising her voice. She seemed to smile even while providing “good counsel ” and used a soft hand when correcting me. Then came the age of 10, the “I know everything” stage. I challenged directives at times and wasn’t always the faithful bearer of truth. I began to see another side of my nurturing angel. Her tone had become firm and authoritative. Who was this person? Every time I made unwise decisions, there was a voice in my ear and sometimes a painful reminder of my faulty choices.
This angel had become my conscience. She consistently reminded me of my family name, my commitment to Christ, and my expected obedience to the rules of her home. She was downright bossy at times, always telling me when to get off the phone, when to do my homework, and even encouraging me, in very strong and seemingly intimidating ways, to go to bed and remember to say my prayers. As I matured, I realized the importance of her words of wisdom and the lasting impressions of those intimate moments that were often accompanied by her choice of punishment. Mom was that angel, the bossy one, my conscience and my friend.
As I ventured off to create memories for myself, heading to college and eagerly anticipating freedom, I realized how much I missed my friend. The twenty-minute wait to use the community phone was well worth the ten-minute conversation with my angel. She reminded me of her love for me, rejoiced with me and even cried with me through breakups and struggles with professors and roommates. My mom, my angel, my boss, my conscience, my friend. We missed each other so much!
As we take time this weekend to celebrate Mothers across the nation, remember the sacrifices made for you by the mom, grandmother, aunt, guardian, or significant person who provided you a place for nurture and growth. If that “mother” is no longer with you, find a loving woman in your community, your village, your circle, and let her know that you care. Be an angel, a loving conscience, but, most of all, a friend and a reflection of Christ.
Maureen C. Tapp
A daughter, a mother, a friend