I am the youngest of eight children. I don't remember my mother rocking me or holding me very often, but as I am now a mother myself, I can only imagine that she was way too busy. We have two generations in our family. The first six children came along pretty closely, but then there was a gap and my brother Hank came along and at last I was born.
My mother was a working mother for as long as I can remember. (She was a single parent for many years.) I never really got to enjoy my mom or feel a real mother/daughter kind of closeness. Today, I guess we would call that bonding. But I knew she loved me as she always took very good care of me and all my siblings.
I grew up, got married and had my own little girl when one day I was asked, no, I was told, by my older sister, that I should have Mom come and live with me. At the time, we didn't really have the room, but my husband was wonderful and we made room. I took care of my mom for five years in our home, and I will tell you, it wasn't easy. I was on 24-hour duty. The thing that made everything worthwhile was the thought that God had given me this opportunity to have my mom all to myself. There were times when we wouldn't even speak, just sit in her room and watch television or listen to the radio or just be quiet together.
It was a wonderful gift from God to be able to have this precious time with her, and through it all, even though there were times I wanted to run away, it was just a very special gift and I thank God I could do it. (I always kidded my mom that she saved the best for last and she would nod and say, "Only you.")
Finally I could take care of Mom no more and she had to go into a nursing home. I was there every day. I used to wash her clothes, make all her hair appointments and anything else that came up. The first year she was there, at Halloween, I dressed up as a clown, full makeup and all, and had my daughter dress up as gypsy. We handed out candy to the residents. I attended many a bingo game, mother/daughter luncheons, Christmas celebrations and countless musical events with her.
Sometimes I would wheel her outside and take her to McDonald's for coffee or ice cream and just be there. Sometimes she would be on a field trip and I would lie on her bed and wait for her to come home.
My mom died 10 years ago and I am reminded that sometimes things don't come in the order we expect or wish, but with God's help, they come. Good memories are a blessing.
Bert Adams is an administrative secretary for the UCC's Parish Life and Leadership Ministry in Cleveland. Focus on Faith is a reader-written column to help others grow in their faith. We welcome submissions from laity and clergy.