Do you ever wonder about what people will someday say about you and the impact you may have had on their lives? Not many of us really get the opportunity to find out, since by the time folks are talking about us it is often for our funeral/memorial service. My mother commented some time ago that she spent her career being “just a babysitter”. Taking care of kids may not seem glamorous, but who someone chooses to take care of their precious children is very important, since they will be spending so many hours a day with them. I stewed on the comment for a few weeks when it came to me how we could show her how important she has been to so many people over the years.
I started a list of the kids she took care of that I could remember their names – over the years there were dozens of kids – so the list I came up with were the children who stood out most because they had special relationships with mom. The search started with Facebook, where I sent private messages to a few of them, with two responses. The one happened to have phone numbers for two others, the other let her siblings know. Another listed his work name, so tracked him down through his work email, and from there I managed to get 8 letters from “kids” and two from mothers.
As the letters came through, and I read through the memories, I realized that Mom didn’t just have an impact on the lives of these kids, but she influenced so much of who they became as adults, who they are as parents, and their values as human beings. I shed many tears as I read how she inspired these kids to be better people, the laughter she taught them through fun play, the freedom she gave them to be kids with imaginations, and the love they still have for her. I put them into a book for her, with my daughter’s help arranged them in a logical order, decorated them a little, and from there it was my hope she could see that she was not “just” a babysitter. She was a 2nd mother to some, a grandmother to others, a special friend, an inspiration and a comforting hug to all of them. The common thread that bound these memories together was love, laughter and fun. What a legacy that is, isn’t it?
My mother got up each day and took care of many children of various ages, they came and went as the parents’ jobs changed, as they grew up and didn’t need a babysitter, or as they moved away. She thought she was just keeping them alive until their parents could get them, making sure they weren’t hungry and that they weren’t harmed. The other stuff, that came naturally to her, as naturally as breathing. When one of them fell out of a tree into stinging nettles, she put soothing cool cloths on his burning skin until he felt better. When another fell into a mud puddle at school, so that the school called to come and get him so he could change clothes, she tucked him up on the couch in warm blankets to watch cartoons while she washed and dried his clothes. I’m sure she made him a snack to enjoy while he waited, because that’s what Mom did. She took care of those kids as if they were her own. These kids talked about visits to parks, to feed the koi, swimming, shopping and getting special treats. They talked about how their lives were better because she had been a part of them, and that where some people say it takes a village to raise kids, to them, it just took one person beyond their parents, my Mom.
The truth is that each of us, upon our entrance into this world, casts a pebble into the pond of life. The ripples from that drop in the pond are far reaching for some folks, like my mother, and not so much for others. I’m sure each of us would like to think that our ripples will still be felt and appreciated far into the future, but it’s what we put into life that will determine it, isn’t it? We don’t even have to be aware that what we are doing is special, and we may never know whether or not we positively impacted the world, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t live each day putting as much love into it as we possibly can. My mother’s ripples have already extended through my generation, my children’s (and these daycare kids) generation, and now to my grandchildren and the children of the kids who wrote these letters. The love she showered these kids with influences the way they interact with their own children, and that is a testimony about living life in a loving way to those around you. Her legacy will live into the future because of who she is and will positively impact so many for generations to come.
I’m proud of my mother, so incredibly proud, and so touched to read what others have said about her and what she means to them. It is my hope and prayer that some day people can look back and say just a fraction of the wonderful things about me, and that I can be such an inspiration in some way to others. Isn’t that what all of us should want for our lives? (This is a picture of her with Little Man R at her party. These two absolutely ADORE each other.)
Verse of the Day
May 20, 2019
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
Paul prayed with joy because the Philippians were partners with him, not just supporters. Through their financial help, prayers, and interest in his work, they truly shared in his ministry. They were partners! Let’s get interested in our congregations’ missions. Let’s pray and contribute to missions and get to know our missionaries. Let’s get to know our missionary partners all over the world!
Be a Millionaire Day – This sounds like a great one!) – This is definitely a day I could celebrate with enthusiasm . . . and I’m sure everyone else could too. Even though a million bucks isn’t what it used to be, it would still go a long way to making a few dreams come true. It’s funny since I was thinking about this not long ago . . . wouldn’t it be nice to win a lottery, or come into an unexpected windfall, and be able to do all of the projects around the house you want, without worrying about the money? Or do an amazing backyard makeover, without breaking the bank? Yep, it would. But the likelihood of winning a lottery is slim, very slim, but still SOMEONE wins every so often . . . it’s a thought, right? If you are already a millionaire, just sit back and bask in it. If you aren’t, dream big about what you would do if you were. Most millionaires get there through hard work, using their brains, making sound investments and spending wisely. That’s probably the best, and most reliable way to do it, so we’d better get busy! Thought for today: “All I ask is for a chance to prove that money doesn’t buy happiness”. Author unknown.
Eliza Doolittle Day – The movie My Fair Lady was based on a play called Pygmalion, written by George Bernard Shaw. In the movie, Audrey Hepburn plays the part of a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who learns to speak like a lady and fantasizes about meeting the king. Of course, it’s a musical, so she sings . . .
“One evening the king will say, ‘Oh, Liza, old thing — I want all of England your praises to sing. Next week on the twentieth of May, I proclaim Liza Doolittle Day.”
The point of both Pygmalion and My Fair Lady was exploring the benefits of learning how to speak properly in a time when proper speech was valued as a symbol of education and social status. Do you see the word WAS? Yes, it just does not seem to be important to many people any longer. We are in an age when people do not care about sounding educated, and if you use proper English you are looked at like you’re strange. This country was built by people trying to move up in their world and dumbing down speech was not a part of that. The perfect way to celebrate this day would be to watch My Fair Lady if you have the chance and take a moment before you speak. Is what you are about to say proper, or do you sound like an uneducated imbecile? Perhaps if a few of us started out with proper enunciation and pronunciation, others would follow? It’s a pipe dream, but still a dream.
Everybody Draw Mohammed Day – I know that not everyone watches South Park. It can be a bit on the raw side, which isn’t everyone’s taste. And it can be pretty offensive – but what I do like about it is that it is always up to date on current events, and there isn’t any group of individuals that are safe from the razor wit of the writers, be they political, religious, or just individual groups of people – such as those who are overweight, ride Harley’s, or whatever the group may be. In 2010 South Park was preparing to air an episode that pictured a cartoon image of what they imagined Mohammed would look like, and Comedy Central cut a portion of that episode after receiving a death threat from a radical Muslim group. To counter the fear, Molly Norris, a Seattle cartoonist, declared May 20th to be “Everybody Drawn Mohammed Day”. She contends that a cartoonist’s job is to be non-PC, to challenge the lines of political correctness. The producers of South Park said that Comedy Central removed a speech that was about intimidation and fear from their show after a radical Muslim group warned that they could be killed for insulting their Prophet Mohammad. The group was contending that it was not threatening the South Park producers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but their threat included a grim and gruesome picture of Theo Van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker that was killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 – and said that the producers could meet the same fate. Sounds pretty much like a threat to me! The website that held the threat posted the addresses of Comedy Central’s New York office and the California production studio where South Park is made. Norris says that as a cartoonist she felt such passion about what had happened that she wanted to counter Comedy Central’s message that they sent about feeling afraid. Her solution was to ask other artists to submit drawings of any religious figure to be submitted and posted as a part of “Citizens Against Citizens Against Humor” on May 20th. She did not do it to be disrespectful towards any religion, but to protect the right to freedom of speech. It didn’t go well for her and the backlash was nearly deafening. I give her kudos for her bravery and her desire to stand up for her own rights, and the rights of everyone else. Good job!
National Rescue Dog Day – Countless numbers of dogs are sitting in shelters, waiting for their forever people to come and take them to their forever home. This celebration was started by an organization called Tails That Teach, Inc. to raise awareness for these dogs, and to promote and encourage spaying and neutering rescue animals. Rescue dogs go through so much, overcoming awful circumstances, and when adopted by a loving family, are able to provide comfort, security and friendship to the homes they join. Some of them, with proper training, even help contribute to the independence of people with disabilities by becoming service animals or giving comfort to the elderly. Dogs improve our lives by being loving companions, so let’s do our part to share our love for them by adopting if possible, fostering abandoned pets, donating to no-kill shelters, volunteering at shelters, and being sure to spay/neuter your pets.
Weights & Measures Day – Today is the anniversary of an international treaty, signed on 20 May 1875, providing for the establishment of an International Bureau of Weights and Measures. The Office of Weights and Measures is intended to promote uniformity in U.S. weights and measures laws, regulations, and standards to achieve equity between buyers and sellers in the marketplace. This was supposed to enhance consumer confidence, which in turn should enable U.S. businesses to compete fairly at home and abroad, and which should strengthen the U.S. economy. It would be nice if SOMETHING would . . . but that’s another blog. I have absolutely NO ideas for how to celebrate this one . . . weigh something?
Food Celebration of the Day –
National Quiche Lorraine Day – I love quiche, Lorraine or otherwise. This particular recipe is thought to have originated in the rural Lorraine region of France and was basically a one crust pie with a custard and bacon filling. Cheese wasn’t a part of it until a later time. Personally, I do love it more with cheese.
Pick Strawberries Day – My parents tell me stories about going to pick berries – all sorts of berries – in the fields for extra money. They did this later in the season than this, since in our neck of the woods we are barely getting started on planting, much less getting to the harvesting. Still . . . some of you may live somewhere that you can pick berries. Is there anything sweeter than a sun warm, ripe strawberry right off the vine? I’m wondering how many people make less money picking since they eat so many berries along the way. I suppose since it’s such back breaking work, the reward of those sweet and juicy treats would be payment enough for some people. Yum.
Be a light in someone’s life today! Celebrate happiness, family, friends and any little thing that can put a smile on someone’s face. God bless you and I’ll see you soon.
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Celebration list sources: