I am still recovering and processing all the thoughts and feels from the weekend. My baby got married. So, today’s prompt in the #SCFacebookChallenge, “what inspires you,” is too much for a Facebook post.

As I think over the past week, the activity, the phone calls, the last minute craziness, disagreements and apologies, the rehersal and dinner, the preparations leading up to the wedding, the family and friends, the actual wedding, the reception, and now house/pet-sitting for my son and new daughter-in-love as they are on their honeymoon, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The photographer has not yet edited or shared the official photographs, but Facebook was immediately filled with snapshots of the events from many of the participants. Here is my favorite, and the current answer to what inspires me…

One is my mom by birth, the other my mom by marriage. They were both there for me when…

  • I said “I do” to my husband twenty-nine years ago,
  • I gave birth to each of my sons and brought the babies home,
  • I needed advice–day or night–on any subject, life-changing or trivial,
  • I was in the hospital for emergencies, surgeries, strokes, and the rehab after,
  • the boys were in school plays, church programs, recitals, band concerts, and more,
  • I needed them to tag team childcare when I was sick or so I could celebrate an anniversary,
  • we celebrated anniversaries, holidays, new jobs, birthdays, new homes, and graduations,
  • we mourned the loss of loved ones,
  • baseball games… years of baseball games…

These two moms, so very different, yet alike in what matters. They were both working women who taught me how to manage family, home, and career. One lost everything in Hurricane Carla, the other moved cross country and started over twice–both before internet and free long-distance connected them to their friends and family. They taught me that family and friends are the most important and irreplacable, everything else is just stuff. They taught me that there is a time for everything; to laugh, cry, talk, analyze, argue, forgive… but sometimes you just need to shut up and do the hard task at hand.

They walked through life before me as an example. I’ve watched them deal with empty nests, retirement, their husbands’ declining health, loss of parents, widowhood, downsizing, and their own health struggles with a grace that I hope one day to emulate. I’ve watched them put aside differences of opinions to love their people and serve where they could. I’ve watched them both open their homes to neighbors and strangers alike when the need arose, and extend hospitality like they were entertaining royalty. I’ve seen them laugh so hard they cried, and I’ve seen them descretly wipe tears of grief away when they thought no one noticed. I’ve seen them bandage scraped knees with a smile, kiss, and cookie, and I’ve seen them hold their grandchildren with unconditional love in those unloveable moments we all go through.

In this age of internet memes, disrespect for the aged, transient and broken families, I know how blessed I am, and I do not take it for granted.

My son got married this past weekend. I asked before the wedding that the photographer get a quick picture of the bride, her mother, and myself. I hope and pray that in thirty years there will be another family gathering, and my daughter-in-love, her mother, and I will pose for another picture. I pray that we will be an example for her in the years to come of how to celebrate the everyday as well as the special events, how to love unconditionally in the easy and hard times, how to get the job done as well as how to rest and enjoy the fruits of her labor, and most of all how to focus on what’s important and let go of all that’s not.

I learned from the mother-of-the-bride the Spanish word, “comadres.” In the Hispanic culture, they do not have in-laws, but co-parents. I love that! My mom and my husband’s mother have definitely been co-mothers, and taught me so much. As I finish my month-long Facebook challenge, and look towards November and #30DaysofGratitude, I am eternally grateful for these two women and am inspired to follow their example as I love and pray my children through the next generation.

Now, it’s your turn. Who or what inspires you to do or be more than you thought possible? I challenge you to #30DaysofGratitude this Thanksgiving season.

And remember to call your mother and say Thank You.