Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Honor of My Many Mom's.

I've had a lot of "mothers" in my life. My biological mom, my adoptive mom and quite a few substitute "mothers" in between including the years my Dad played Mr. Mom. I wanted to thank and honor them this Mothers Day.
Jesus (the one in the bible not my neighbor across the street) once said that "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." It seems to me this is the ultimate description of what mothers do. They lay down their dreams, desires, comforts, restful nights, etc. in order to give life to, provide and care for, guide and love their children. They give of themselves for us.
My birth mom epitomized this spirit.
She was diagnosed with cancer at the same time she found out she was pregnant with me. Her doctors told she and my Dad her best hope to survive this disease was to have an abortion. They were told there was little chance that I would survive the pregnancy wether they treated her disease aggressively or not at all, I would either succumb to the cancer or to the cancer treatment. She and my father made what had to be the hardest decision of their young lives, they decided to keep me and told the doctors to do what they could to fight the cancer while protecting my tiny life.
"Greater love has no one than this..."
It didn't matter that the Dr's told her there was little chance of my survival or health and great peril for her. My mom decided to put her life on the line to protect mine.
My mom Vanita Kay Barrows/Colaw did what mothers do, she laid down her life. Vanita died before my first birthday. During Vanita's illness and in the following years a whole lot of "mothers" came through my life. Aunts, grandmas and family friends jumped in and helped my dad. Feeding, changing diapers and caring for me while dad was at work or with my mom at the hospital. I wish I could recognize you all by name but I'm sure I would leave someone out (please give me a break I was a baby). Each of these women and my dad as Mr. Mom made sacrifices in their own lives in order to care for and love me. Thank you.
While I've had many "mothers" I've only have memory of one mommy. When I was three years old my dad met, wooed and married Joyce Lynn Baker. I have no doubt, None; that I would not be the man I am today if it were not for her influence in my life. I believe for a person to thrive they need to know unconditional love. This is the gift that keeps our kids going even when we blow it as parents, what kids need more than perfect parenting is to feel the unconditional love of their parents. Every parent expresses this love in different ways, but a child always knows when it's there. This kind of love empowers children to become their best selves. I could tell you all sorts of stories about how my mom loved me; baking me cookies, teaching me to skip, bandaging hurts, studying spelling lists (to this day I can't spell together without hearing her voice saying "to get her"), editing book reports (Misty of Chincoteague is after all a book about Horses not whores), listening to me talk about a girl I broke up with, teaching me that Dorcas is both a woman in the bible and a proper way to insult someone in a loving manner etc., etc., etc.. But the greatest gift she gave me was unconditional love. When my Dad married her, my mom adopted both my sister and I. Occasionally when I share my history someone will say "oh so Joyce is your stepmom", my instinct is to pop them in the nose and yell "No she's just my mom!", but I always refrain. In the 35 years she has been part of my life, there has never been a nanosecond of time that I have not felt that I fully unconditionally belonged to her. Even though she later gave birth to my brother Patrick (by the way don't ever call him my half brother unless you want to be popped in the nose) I never felt less than 100% her's, and this love had profoundly shaped me.
I have been fortunate enough to have two mom's one who gave me life and gave her life for me and another who laid down her life daily and taught me to love unconditionally.

Happy Mother's Day Moms, you are wonderful examples of Gods love!

Happy Mommy's Day Mom
I Love You unconditionally too!