Sunday night at small group, the leader asked us to share a memory of our mothers.
The question had pestered me for a week, ever since I had decided to write my first blog post in a year for my mother. How could I summarize a lifetime in 300 words or less? What single memory did justice to the unconditional love that got us through any situation?
I think I gave myself an impossible task. But as I filtered through snippets of memories, I remembered her room-filling laugh that echoed wherever she found a friend. I remembered her warm arms wrapping around my shoulders and rocking me when I felt empty and alone. I remembered the numerous phone calls when I felt like my insides would swallow me, and she would say, “Breathe,” until the world felt a little smaller.
I remembered all the gooey chocolate chip cookies she would bake when we had emptied the house of our usual desserts. I remembered the smell of coconut and pineapple steaming out of her bathroom to remind her of her “happy place” at the beach. I remembered the heat of a bowl of popcorn when she would mix it with M&Ms and mini-marshmallows for movie night.
Of course, there were moments when one’s sideways comments would make our heads fill with fury. We made each other cry at times, and not the happy tears that followed a scribbled note or a small bag with an uplifting quote on it. But I also remembered my mother praying with me, and I remembered her faith that God always knew what was best for me, even when I didn’t quite believe it myself.
So I decided that I could not distill my mother into a single representative memory. She was too much a part of everything around me for that.