Growing up as we did, moving from place to place, wasn’t always easy. An officer in the military moving up the ranks, does well after he’s been in for some time…but starting out most families don’t have much. Thank the Lord for base housing and free medical care, but just extra living expenses like food for clothes and food went thin when we were young.
I’ll never forget moving from Hawaii to Virginia when I was between third and fourth grade. We’d been on the island of Oahu, for 4 years, where we had lived in mumu’s, shorts, and flip flops. The move to Virginia was a hard one, not just because the beauty of the islands we’d left behind…but because of the harsh cold weather we now faced. In Virginia, is where my parent’s bought our first family home. Going from base housing to a huge mortgage payment was another huge transition, that as kids, my sister and I were ignorant of.
A few years ago my dad was reminiscing about those days, and he mentioned how one whole paycheck went to the mortgage payment. It didn’t leave a lot left over for anything else. I don’t know how they did it. I remember my mom pouring over her check register each week. She figured a way to cut corners every way she could by budgeting every cent.
Her number one priority was making sure the family was fed and cared for. I think that’s the hardest challenge in any day, let alone when you don’t know how you’re going to get by. All she knew is that her kids needed winter clothes to stay warm. A winter that had snow blown up over every mailbox on our street. A winter that made your toes freeze just walking outside for a few minutes. A winter that she dressed in her Hawaiian mumu’s with no money for a winter coat. She sacrificed her basic needs so that her children could stay warm. I can’t imagine how cold she was, but her basic instint was to shelter her children no matter what…even at the expense of her own health.
Having a child of my own, has taught me a whole new appreciation for my mother. I obviously understand every sacrifice she’s ever made for me, but having my own child has cast her in a new light. She’s always inspired me as a daughter, but now she’s inspiring me as a mother. I am so blessed to have such a giving, passionate, God fearing mother. A woman, who would do anything for her children’s well being.
What’s funny are the little things that are coming back to me. Little things that she did with me as a young child, that I thought I didn’t have any recollection of…silly little songs or actions. For example, last week I was giving my son a bath. I’ve been trying to get him to wash his hair sitting up in the tub. He doesn’t like getting his hair or face wet. It’s really bothersome to him. So I thought I’d make a game out of it, because I was getting really tired of washing his hair at the sink. Bath time was a two part process and it’s tiring some nights!
I grabbed a wash cloth and squeezed water over head, and said, “Look it feels like I cracked an egg over your head! Ewwww! Gross!” He just laughed and laughed. Well now a week later, he’s grabbing cups full of water and throwing it over his head saying, “It’s like a cracked egg Mommy!”
Yeah, finally I get to wash his hair in the tub after a bath. One step process…done!
I told my mom of the cute little trick I made up to get my son to get past his water fear in the bath. She smiled with a twinkle in her eye and responded, “You remember when I used to to do that to you, don’t you?”
“No. I made that up.”
“No…I did that to you when you, were a toddler, to get you to wet your hair in the tub.”
I just shook my head in awe. It’s amazing what is stored in one’s brain, and how it gets recalled years later! I shouldn’t be suprised. She’s reminded me a few other times of things she would do with me, that I hadn’t remembered, that I thought I’d creatively made up to do with my son. All this being said–Mom’s have a huge impact on our lives and I’m so thankful I’ve got such a wonderful role model to learn from.