I had a closing shift tonight. We somehow managed to get out a little after 10pm. That’s pretty badass since our store is closed to the public at 9pm.
I was tempted to ask one of the girls if she wanted to go out since the night was young, but, since we are old maids, I went to my car and called it a night instead.
I’m so glad I did.
I parked in the driveway surrounded by foggy darkness. My parents’ murmurs crept through the heavy door. And I was greeted warmly by lamplight and a concerned father letting me know there was curry fried rice in the fridge if I was hungry.
Their planning for car situations tomorrow was suspended by my arrival.
Our car needs to go to the shop because something is shaking when it hits 60 mph or more. I haven’t noticed because I haven’t driven that fast yet since we got our new clutch. My mom and I decided to drop the car off at the shop tonight so my dad could sleep.
But we talked for an hour before we left.
She told me about work, and how hard it is. She’s in her fifties and working more than she ever has in her life. My mother has been fortunate enough to never have to work a full time job. She has always been a part time nurse by choice. She chose to work late nights so that she could spend her mornings waking early and making breakfast for three needy children. She chose to walk her needy children to their elementary school. She chose to make the most of the sunlight and do household chores before her night shift. She chose to sacrifice.
And she’s choosing it again. But this time the decision seems more uncertain and the sacrifice to reward ratio is a little murky. It makes me sad to see my mom so stressed.
We talked about family and how I have no patience. I have no patience–if I have patience, it’s very minute. She says she’ll end up in a nursing home.
It makes me sad to see myself from my mother’s eyes–that she thinks I don’t love her enough to want to take care of her. But maybe the wanting isn’t enough. Because, realistically, my future husband and I may not have the finances to take care of my parents. Or two sets of parents. But that’s another day’s worries.
We talked about marriage. We talked about expectations. We talked about in-laws. We talked about life. And I’m so glad I was able to tell her that she set a good example for me. Because of her and my dad’s marriage, I’ve seen how beautiful two people can be. I’ve seen that love begets love.
She’s shown me that a wife who loves her husband will sacrifice her pride to build his confidence. She’s shown me that by trusting her husband, he gains strength to shoulder tough decisions. A good wife will encourage the man she loves because she knows that she’s been trusted with his tender heart that is so vulnerable and easy to breakage otherwise. She’s shown me that a wife should offer comfort and companionship, not criticism. If she is to criticize, it should be constructive and never tear down his character, only fortify it.
And I’ve seen that a husband who is lucky enough to have this type of wife is able to sacrifice his pride for her joy. This husband is willing to forego an hour of sleep to buy her medicine because the only 24/7 store is fifteen minutes away. This husband is patient with her even when she yells. This husband will put away the dishes even though he’s worked a full nine hour day. This husband will drive to her work to pick her up and wait an hour for her to finish only to realize she drove herself that morning and he waited for nothing. This husband will sacrifice his life to ensure hers.
Love begets love.
At this point we decided it was probably time we high tailed it outta there and dropped the car off. When we got home we were ready for bed.
But we sat around gathering baby things that were forgotten from this weekend so that my dad would have an easy time packing the car tomorrow. And while we sat, we talked some more. We mostly talked about church. Our church has gone through a lot in the years, but it has survived and even grown since that time. We talked about how God has a plan for our humble church, regardless of its strengths and weaknesses. And then we talked about weight gain and clothes and just girly things.
And I realize just how much I love my mom. I love her because she’s my mother, but I also love her as a person. If I were some other stranger, with no blood connection to this woman, I would love her. For her beauty, for her kindness, for her wisdom, for her grace.
I saw my mother, not as the superhero who cleans cuts and kisses away tears, not as my meal provider, not as the slave driver who demands a dustless house on weekends, but as a woman who is tired and aching. She has been loving me for the past twenty-five years. She has been trusting me with that love.
Love begets love. Love should be followed with love.
I don’t think I’ve done a good job of this.