This is my first Mother’s Day without my mom, who passed away December 29, 2018.
No matter what anyone tells you in advance, I don’t think anyone can prepare you for that first Mother’s Day without your mom.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that my mom was my world.
She was my role model, my biggest supporter, and the BEST MOM EVER!
It still doesn’t seem real that she’s no longer here.
The picture below was taken last year on Mother’s Day and reflects how she lived her life—making each of her children feel as if they were her favorite.
In today’s post, I thought I’d share several ways my mom shaped me and made me into the person I am today.
Without a doubt, the life lessons I learned over the years from her have inspired the messages I share with teens now.
And hopefully you’ll leave with a few nuggets you can share with your daughter as well.
There was never any doubt in my mind how much my mom loved me.
The love language my mom spoke was “Acts of Service.”
She didn’t have money to lavish me with gifts (which wasn’t my love language anyway).
But she gave what she had, which was her giving heart and desire to serve.
As an adult going home to visit, I felt like I was staying in a five-star hotel.
My mom always served me breakfast in bed and I often walked in my bedroom to see the cover turned back on the bed with a piece of chocolate on the pillow.
It always felt as if she spent her whole life trying to find a way to make her children feel loved and special.
How can you show your daughter how much you love her?
I will admit that giving your daughter breakfast in bed may be a bit much when she lives in your house every day.
But, serving her breakfast in bed on her birthday may not be such a bad idea.
Note: Before deciding how you’ll show her you love her, make sure you’re speaking her love language. If you’re not sure what that is, you can learn more about it in this post.
What about sending her random text messages declaring how much you love her?
Maybe hide little love notes where she can find them throughout the day.
Or take her out for ice cream or whatever her favorite food is, for no special occasion or reason other than you just want to put a smile on her face.
I always knew that my mom enjoyed spending time with me.
My mom never acted like her children were a burden.
Even with her large family that she raised as a widow, I don’t remember her ever wishing the summer would hurry up and end so we could go back to school and get out of her hair.
If her children were home for a visit, she never wanted to go to bed until we went to bed.
When I knew it was past her normal bedtime, I’d encourage her to go to bed and she’d always respond, “I’m not going to bed and leave you in the den. I want to stay up and spend time with you. I can sleep when you go back to Atlanta.”
Even as an adult, her face still lit up whenever I walked through the door.
I rarely told her exactly when I was coming home to visit, so she was usually surprised to see me.
And not just surprised. She was overjoyed.
I can still hear her voice now as she’d scream, “JACKIE!!!!!!” and give me the biggest hug and a kiss.
How can you show your daughter you enjoy spending time with her?
Girls often tell me that they’re looking for love from guys.
When I remind them that their moms love them too, they often respond with, “Yeah, but she’s my mom. She HAS to love me.”
So, sometimes they take your love for granted.
But guess what they don’t take for granted?
The time that you sacrifice to spend with them.
Not because you have to.
But, because you want to!
Are you willing to prove to your daughter how much you want to spend time with her by sacrificing something that’s important to you just so you can spend time with her?
I guarantee she’ll know how much you enjoy spending time with her if she hears a call come through on your phone and you refuse to even look to see who’s calling because she has your undivided attention.
And imagine how special she’d feel if you decided to forego binge-watching the last few episodes of your favorite Netflix series to spend time with her instead.
The bottom line?
It really doesn’t take a lot to show your daughter how much you care.
She just wants to know that SHE is your priority.
Not a phone call or a Netflix series.
My mom established traditions that created lasting memories.
I still have fond memories of going grocery shopping with my mom every Friday evening when I was a little girl.
Nothing spectacular…but, our routine was something I always looked forward to.
Even during my adult years, we always played the “punch buggy” game whenever we saw a Volkswagen beetle while traveling.
A game even the grandkids enjoyed playing with Mama.
It doesn’t take much to remind me of her every day, but seeing a “punch buggy” is sure to bring her to mind and put a smile on my face.
I thank God that I was able to capture many of the memories we created via pictures and video.
Being able to go back and look at the pictures or watch the videos, has provided tremendous comfort to me over the past four months since my mom’s been gone.
What traditions can you establish with your daughter that will create lasting memories?
Maybe it’s an outing you go on every Friday night, birthday or holiday.
Maybe it’s a fun game that you play. Or a television show you watch together weekly.
Instead of a physical present for her birthday or Christmas, why not gift her with an experience of her choosing that you can do together?
It doesn’t have to be an expensive trip.
It could be something as simple as a painting class, an Escape Room outing, or a trip to a local theme park for just the two of you.
But here’s the important thing Mom: Do as I did and capture as many of these memories spending time together with your daughter as possible on camera or video.
One day that may be all either of you has.
My mom’s outpouring of unconditional love for me was the only “research” I needed to write her eulogy.
I delivered the eulogy for my mom’s service.
It was such an honor to be able to share my mom with so many in the audience who knew her children, but didn’t know her.
And I thank God for giving me the strength to make it through the eulogy without getting emotional.
It didn’t feel like it was her “Homegoing” service.
It just felt as if I was in a room full of people (the church seated 600 people and it was standing room only), telling them about how wonderful my mom was.
A friend told me she felt like she was at a comedy show.
(I actually received requests from four people to deliver their eulogies when they die.) 😉
It wasn’t until after I was given a recording of the service that I realized I had spoken for 51 minutes.
If you’re ever bored and have 51 minutes to spare, you can watch it here.
Do you know how I was able to stand and speak about my mom for 51 minutes?
It was because of the wonderful memories I shared with her over the years.
Although no one wants to think about it, most of us will experience the loss of our parents one day.
My wish for you is that your daughter will have just as many wonderful things to say about you when the time comes.
Be intentional about creating loving memories to share about you and your relationship.
And I promise, your daughter will have plenty of great things to say.
What’s one memory you’ve been intentional about creating with your daughter?
I can’t wait to read your response!
It always does my heart good to see thriving mother-daughter relationships.
But this year, I think it means even more.
Happy Mother’s Day!