Think four:eight {day 30}

Today is my mom’s 75th birthday! Our family is gathering tonight to honor and celebrate her life. She is deeply loved by her four children and their spouses and adored by her eleven grandchildren as well.

My mom is a hero to me… to us all. As a young nurse, she tackled life with four very young children (just 5 years between the oldest and youngest), while my father pursued his doctorate degree in Education. When I was seven years old, my parents divorced and my mom took on the role of being a single parent. At that time we were living in Macomb, Illinois. Wanting to create a new life for us all, she took a job when I was ten years old as a nursing coordinator for the soon to be built Desert Samaritan Hospital in Mesa. To a ten year old, the unknown seems like a great adventure. But now that I am a parent with my own children, I can’t even imagine the courage and fortitude it required as a single mother to leave everything behind and cross into the unknown.

As time passed, my mom continued her role as a single parent and a nursing coordinator. Her reputation of being an outstanding nurse and leader greatly preceded her. It wasn’t long before she was promoted as the hospital’s evening Nursing Supervisor. Even though she retired from that position twelve years ago, whenever we run into nurses at the hospital who worked under her, we get the same reactions again and again… “Your mom was so amazing to work for…  Your mom battled on my behalf when I was treated unfairly… Your mom is a legend at this hospital”!

Not only did my mom rise to the occasion in her profession, she did the same in her role as a mom. Because I was the youngest and she didn’t remarry until I was out of high school, she took on the roll of “mom and dad” to me. I had the fortunate position of being able to spend a lot of time with my mom alone as my older brother and sisters were actively busy with school and work. I still remember spending Friday nights with just the two of us watching The Donny and Marie Show, enjoying cinnamon toast and hot chocolate and then ending the night curled up on the couch together. I remember she would inevitably drift off to sleep from a long day at work. As I laid on the couch curled up beside her, I would see how still I could be and I would carefully and deliberately match my breathing to hers… it felt as though we were one.

My mom is one of the most selfless people I know. She dedicated her life to ensuring we were loved and taken care of. It’s funny, looking back I realize how very little money we had growing up, but it never felt like it at the time. My mom gave us so much more than “things”, she gave us her attention. While I was in jr. high, I cannot tell you how many dog shows she would cart me to during the weekends so I could show my Bedlington Terrier as part of my 4-H club. She never complained, even when it was blistering outside!

I previously referred to my mom as a hero to us as her children. She is not only a hero as a mom, she is a hero as a woman. Last year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was so fortunate and we were so grateful that the doctors caught it in its first stage. However, she still needed to undergo a lumpectomy and radiation, which would cause even the strongest person’s faith to teeter. My mom handled the whole situation with such grace and courage. She knew God was in control and took comfort in His promises. I am happy to report that she is cancer FREE and just needs some medication for the next five  years! God is so good!

I am so honored and proud to write about my mom. She is such a treasure to all who know her and we are so greatly blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

My precious mom surrounded by her kids: Julie, Don, Becky and me (Jennifer)Mom surrounded by her pride and joy… her grandchildren!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

{If you are new to my blog, click here to read the story behind My Personal Challenge: think four:eight.}


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