Tribute fail


Celebrations / Monday, May 11th, 2020

Confession: I tried writing a Mother’s Day tribute. I did.

I started with my mother, Barb, the one who will always be the frame for what “mother” means to me. I’m grateful for her, how she insisted on quality and virtue, taught me lady manners and organization. I’m glad for the good times and the homemaking skills, the little songs she sang us, the silliness and the ethics. Her years of patience. Her wonderful grandmothering.

I thought of my own grandmothers, all six I can remember: Ruby, Grace, Dorothy, Sue, Nancy, Sovina. The legacy they gave me of women who stay.

I didn’t know where to start and stop.

My Coblentz aunts: Rose, Debbie, Ruthie, Rhonda, Angeline: their classiness, humor, sass, equilibrium. My Yutzy aunts by marriage while I was growing up: Judith, Lois, Barb: faithful and loving. The pancakes and coffee.

My mother-in-law Loila: for raising a good man, and taking me into the family. Beth: my husband’s mom-away-from-home, and kind to us both. His grandmothers, Dorothy and Louise: legacy of loyalty.

I thought about the women of my childhood church, and the way they laid their hands on my head, the way they prayed with me on Wednesday nights. Rebecca. Jane. Doris. Joan. Edna. Jeanette. Liz.

I thought about Martha, the pastor’s wife of my teenage church, who came up to the front pews every few weeks after Sunday services, just to listen to me chat to her. She asked good questions, and laughed a lot. I liked her.

The youth mothers, who hosted us crazies till late into the night: Lovina, Martha H, Freda, and more. Esther: who let me be one of her tribe. The Bible School matrons and mothers: especially Ruthie.

What could I say about all these good women? And each a nurturing presence, unforgettable.

Irene: who became a spiritual mother to me.
Sharon: who coached me in mentoring, prayer, and Holy Spirit guidance.
Cynthia: who pursued me since I was a newlywed, and stayed close.
Alma: a ‘substitute grandma’ until my mom moved near (and after).
Tina and Ellen: who show me how to keep loving through grief.
Gladys: who brought my girls into the world, and kept my secrets.
Marie: who took me against her heart and spoke the name of Jesus over me.

Countless older women I admire and love, who stepped close when I needed them: Rebecca S, Jennie O, Dorcas H, Dorcas S, and I know I will forget somebody so I will pause right here.

My sister: raising three little ones with grace, and loving them passionately from her soul. My sisters-in-law: whom I love, who rock the mommy thing. The beloved women I mother alongside: Amber, Melissa, Janelle, Shaunda, Carla, JoElla, Larisa, Rachel, Amy, Joann, Rosetta, Cynthia H, Marlene, Carrie, the Joannas, more… for showing me how. The young moms at church: their gentle hands, admissions of need, sturdy hearts. And those from a distance: devoted mothers, steady friends – Becca, Cris, Wendy, Heidi – for never letting go.

Bio moms I have loved: AsFal, MonKle, CaHun, AnnLi, SanAn. Their courage blows me away.
The mother who adopted the twins I could not keep: I love you, Tina.

And if I didn’t name you, {this is you}. Right here. When you love with all that you have.

I tried writing a Mother’s Day tribute. I didn’t know where to start and stop. I tried.


Who showed you the way?

5 Replies to “Tribute fail”

  1. This year as never before, I’ve been humbled by the love, encouraged by the friendships, challenged by the examples, of so very many women in my life, who mother from the heart, who show a Mother’s care, whether technically a mother or not. My world is very rich because of them.

  2. Who showed me the way? Here are a few:

    Rhoda S, who didn’t snort at my clumsy questions, but graciously gave me answers. RIP
    Clara S, who softly sang songs of worship and comfort, as I sat by my dying mothers bedside.
    Hermoine G, who modeled what a passionate prayer warrior looks like, up close! RIP
    Grace, my mother… what she gave me is a list with no ending. RIP
    Ruby, my MIL… whom I grew to love and claim as my own. RIP

    And with so many of my heroes off to live with Jesus, I now turn to peers and friends to help me process and show me how to live!

    Thank God that we don’t need to do life alone!!!

  3. I love your beautiful tribute to the mothers and mother figures in your life.
    Those who showed me the way:
    Gladys K- My mama who prayed for her children faithfully- RIP
    Marlene H- One of my very first Conservative Mennonite friends who across the miles has taught me about living a life that glorifies God
    Sherri O- She has been an inspiration to me as she raises her many children in the ways of the Lord
    Sandy M- Who always keep me and my family in stitches because of her natural ability to make us laugh. Even when she had and beat cancer, she always found ways to laugh about her experience
    Chris B- She is always there to offer a listening ear and offers godly advice

    Honestly there are so many I could name like the anonymous lady who left us care packages on a regular basis when we were in CA, the grandmas in my church who love on the children, and the mothers who are always there to bring meals to families that need it.

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