To Daughters All Over, From a Motherless Mom

Last Saturday, I spent a couple hours signing books in a lovely, quaint town square in a little southern settlement. While sitting there, I observed folks going in and out of bakeries and browsing the decades-old businesses that lined the shady streets. Friends and other family members formed groups, but I was particularly drawn to mother/daughter teams. They went down the cracked pavement, carrying colorful shopping bags and laughing cheerfully with one another.

Young women carried fat babies draped in bibs and ruffle trousers. Teenage mothers strolled a few feet ahead of their young daughters, who followed them slowly and looked through their phones. Older mothers grabbed their elderly mothers’ arms and helped them traverse the steep stair into the boutique. I witnessed mothers and daughters at various stages of their lives spending quality time together.

Before my own lovely mother died last year, I never noticed the mother/daughter interaction wherever I went. I paid no extra attention to them while shopping, eating lunch, whispering in the movie theater, or appearing on my Facebook newsfeed with their faces squeezed together. It was simply another mother and her daughter. It meant nothing to me.

But now that I have this unexplainable hole in my life, I notice it wherever I go. I choke back tears as I watch strangers pass me with their mothers by their sides. When I overhear them conversing in the restaurant booth behind me, jealously consumes me. I witness that older woman assist her dear, elderly mother in finding a seat in the doctor’s office, and I recall joking with my own mother that I would be the one to place the tennis balls on her new walker.

Mother's Day for the Motherless Mother | Lysa TerKeurst

When I look around my children’s cafeteria, I witness grandma sharing lumpy mashed potatoes with their grandchildren. I didn’t truly appreciate the times when my mother and I went shopping, watched a movie, or spoke on the phone for hours on end. At times, I even complained that she wanted to sniff every Estee Lauder sample, put on another pair of shoes, order dessert, or tell me in detail how they removed that mole on her shoulder.

I was very busy. I had other things to do. I needed to get home and unload the dishwasher, feed the dogs, or watch some television. I didn’t always cherish those moments with my sweet mama. My kid is ten. I’m going to ask her if she wants to go shopping and spend some quality time with this weekend. She may drag behind me, bored to tears and wanting she could hurry home to her iPod, but one day she will appreciate and remember the time we spent together.

You should cherish your mothers. Cherish the errands, lunches, and phone calls. Let her tell you the same story again. Allow her to run into one more store. Allow her to do whatever she wants as long as you can do it with her. A motherless girl is admiring your connection and the amazing gift you have at your side. All she has left are memories.

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