Several years ago I wrote about Mom’s role in our outdoor-oriented family and the lasting impact she has had on me. However, I’ve been haunted by the feeling there was more to share about her gentle, ever-present influence that would resonate with others who grew up in a similar fanatical outdoor family situation.
As I think about her, the word that comes to mind is sacrificial. I didn’t notice at the time, or know enough to recognize this special greatness. She wasn’t a helicopter mom and despite still worrying a lot, she knew it was right to let us go out, get dirty and stub our toe – maybe even do stuff that was somewhat dangerous – in spite of her fears.
I think she was more worried about Dad because he wasn’t one to hold back on anything. He had that quiet, confident “can do” attitude like many in his generation.They grew up tough-minded and expected you to be the same! Mom knew she had to let Dad be Dad. He took me on a lot of crazy fishing trips we didn’t tell her about for years (in some cases decades)! She had her suspicions, though.
I also think her faith that it would all turn out OK in the end laid the foundation for my belief in myself and my skills. When something happened, she was always the one to make it all right for us, even though underneath it all she was scared. She sacrificed her feeling and concerns to build us up and I didn’t realize this strength till later in my life. She always told me to go for it! I believed in me because she did! I loved telling her about some big fish I had just caught and she always listened intently and fully. The rest of the world could be against me, but Mom was the one I could share my feelings with any time. I feel blessed that I didn’t really care much about being a follower or what the crowd thought. Mom’s gentle influence and approval trumped it all.
I always felt that because of her I was free to go for it, and back then all we knew was that hunting and fishing were just part of our life! If I wasn’t hunting, fishing or exploring vast uncharted areas in the back of our ranch, I was working. Work hard, play hard. Out in the boonies, family and neighbors were the whole world. It was a simple but great life. Mom was always there getting us ready, whether it was the dove opener or a trout trip, and she was always waiting when we got back, too!
I confess that to this very day, my very first thought after I do something I’m proud of is to call Mom and tell her all about it. I’m always downcast and upset as I realize, again, she’s no longer there to share the victory – as we did so many times before. Unconditional acceptance and love is a commodity too few folks have access to, especially when they need it to reaffirm their worth! Looking back I can clearly see that she willingly gave up her own comfort and feelings to provide a safe and wonderful place for us to grow up. I think Mom’s crowning achievement was that first and foremost, she was always a humble and gracious servant. Few are.
Yes, it’s a completely different world now. She taught me there really is a right and a wrong, that I am accountable for my actions and that serving others is a very high calling. She was right; those things have never really changed. That’s the way it is with someone who loves you dearly. They don’t let you get away with crap and they keep pointing the way, even when it hurts them.
I sincerely believe it’s moms that hold our world together. I hope you were blessed with a special mom, too! I miss her, but she still fills my heart with joy. Celebrate your mother! Never give up!