Leanne Willen with her mother

A few weeks ago, my mom and I chatted on the phone. She was out walking and I could hear the wind and her breath as she talked. She went off on some tangent and I caught myself rolling my eyes at her. I love my mother to pieces, but sometimes she gets on my nerves.

The eye rolling is nothing new. I’ve been rolling my eyes at her since I was about 12. But for some reason this time made me stop and think. I suddenly realized that I wasn’t doing a very good job honoring my mother at that moment.

I’ve felt guilty lately about the way I treat my mother- sometimes to her face, oftentimes behind her back. She is one of the most caring, generous people I know. She’s always in my corner. And she’s first in line to help when I need something.

We’ve had our fair share of disagreements and drama, but my mother has always been my biggest cheerleader.

The other night, my mom told me that as soon as she figured out how to leave a comment on my blog, she would write the following:

“When you share your words, you change the world.”

Some words I wrote years ago found their way to someone who really needed them recently. They were words I never intended for anyone to see, an unpolished and emotional tribute to a beloved teacher from high school who had died.

Thanks to a mysterious Internet and a mighty God, my teacher’s daughter found them. She’d been having a horrible day and was missing her mother fiercely. Something prompted her to “Google” her mother’s name and there she found some comfort on my very old blog.

Thanks to a mighty Internet and a mysterious God, a friend of mine from high school contacted me to tell me what had happened. As it turned out, my teacher’s daughter shared my post on her Facebook wall as what she was thankful for that day. My high school friend connected us and we were able to talk a little back and forth.

My heart aches for her, but what actually broke my heart was when she said, “Sometimes a girl just needs her mom.”

What this woman would give to have her mother standing in her kitchen as my own mother was in mine just a few short hours ago. What she’d give to have her mother lecture her or give her unsolicited advice. What she’d give to hear her mother carrying on about some seemingly insignificant thing.

I’m completely overwhelmed and humbled by the magnitude of God’s power and love. He gives us what we need at precisely the moment we need it. She needed comfort. I needed humility. She needed something to remind her of her mother. I needed a reminder that I still need my mother.

I can’t even begin to understand how it must feel to lose a parent. The thought alone knocks the breath out of me. We can’t fully understand God’s plan for us or the ones we love, either. We won’t know how our stories end (or begin, really) until we meet again on the other side.

All of our days are numbered. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned through this is that the ones I love deserve the best of me. They deserve my smiles and affection, my laughter and attention.

They deserve less eye rolls and more eye contact. They deserve less cold shoulders and more warm hugs.  They deserve to know just how much I love them.

The next time I see my mom, I’ll be first in line to hug her. To tell her how thankful I am for her. To thank her for always being there for me and loving me (eye rolls and all). To thank her for teaching me to change the world.

For those of you who may be missing your mother today, I know “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough. There’s no way I could ever take away your pain, but I humbly offer you my prayers and the promise that I’ll (try to) not take for granted the beautiful gift of my mother.

Copyright 2012 Leanne Willen