Today is Mothers' Day. Despite the iPad deciding that it ought to be "Mother's Day", I think that that spelling and punctuation personalizes it too much. Today is not just a day for your mother, but for all mothers, everywhere. Today, specifically, I reflect on my grandmother.
I was one of those fortunate people in life who got four grandmothers. Better yet, I got to actually meet three of them.
My mom's mother passed away when my mom and her sister were young. Because of that, I was able to have my grandfather's new wife (whom he married prior to my birth) as a grandmother, plus my dad's mother, plus my original grandmother, plus my great-aunt who I call "Nana" who has been just like a grandmother to me through these 24 years of my life.
I choose, today, to reflect on the grandmother that I never met.
One of the neat things about human history is that the incredible teachers throughout the ages are sometimes not even known for their personal work, instead...they are known for their teachings, passed down from person to person. If you are familiar with Rob Bell, you'll be familiar with his "dust of the Rabbi" nooma video. This concept has helped progress in our world since the beginning. The goal: become like your teacher.
Therefore, I can only see the grandmother I never met through the lens of others. I see my grandmother through her children. I see her through her family members. I see her through her husband. I see her through the legacy that she left. Though I remember hearing stories time and again about her, I remember her through those people that she left behind.
Cancer is a cruel thing that has taken lives of loved ones of every reader of this reflection. We can't really defeat it (although we are getting better) and treatment often leaves those forced to live with it with a weak immune system and a shorter lifespan. Cancer took the life of my grandmother, before I ever got to meet her.
Fortunately, she left people around. Se left people who carried the love and affection for the world that she did. She left people who were willing to tell story after story about her and the impact that she made on their lives.
I am so grateful for those she left behind.
Humans leave tracks in other humans. Humans make an impact on others and that impact is lived out in the lives of those that person ones in contact with.
If that statement is true, then perhaps my best way to see and experience my grandmother is through her daughter, my mom.
I've seen the love and affection of my grandmother through my mom throughout the years. My mom has always been quick to right me in my wrongs, but always have the loving hand to hold me when I needed it. My mom has been a moral voice in my life, and encouraged me to stay on the right path, even when the other path was "cooler" or seemed more fun. My mom was there to help bail me out of science projects that would have been a visual disaster. My mom was there to help me talk through my opinions before I passed judgment on anyone. My mom was there to suggest the right things, while not forcing me one way or another. My mom was always there to smile. Especially in the times that I needed it.
One of the greatest influences in my life has been my mom.
Love is a gift from God. And, thankfully, God has a remarkable way of passing down that love through generations. I see more clearly now why my mother misses her mother.
She got all of that from her.
What a blessing I have been given, to simply to have witnessed love manifested in this way.