She loves gas station cappuccino. She loves to mix the flavors. Dad buys her a 20 oz. whenever we go camping. It’s become tradition.
We’ve piled in the van for another memorable weekend trip to one of our favorite places. Tents and backpacks fill the cargo space to capacity. Teenagers, children and adults sprawl in the various seats. A sister reads to pass the time. The teens take crazy threesome selfies. And Mom leisurely sips her cappuccino in the front seat.
Then it happens like I always know it will. “Rachael, do you want some of my coffee?” She knows I love the drink as much or more than she does, but for some reason I just didn’t get one this time. “Are you sure?” I ask.
“Of course, it’s always better shared.” I can hear the smile in her voice.
“Sure.” I grin and reach for her cup as she hands it back.
And certain as ants in the sugar bowl, the smallest member of the crew pipes up, “Can I taste it too, Mom?”
“Sure.” The cup gets passed from hand to hand. All the way to the teens in the back seat and back again. It’s become a community cup. When it reaches the front seat again, half the sweet liquid has disappeared. I hand it back up and my Mom glances back, “sure you’ve had enough? Have some more.” And it hits me. This embodies her life, a small but significant symbol of how she lives every day.
Her life is not her own. In that cup is the sweetness of life, hers to enjoy and choose how to spend. She has chosen to give it away to those she loves. Her life is a community life. Her love a sweetness poured out that others might drink. Her gifts, her energies, her time, but most of all her heart.
Her love is enduring. Wayward children, sleepless nights, tears and prayers through long dark years. And her love wins. Because it reflects His love. They return to Him and to her. I watch it with awe and with joy, for I know how dark the night has been, and how rich the joy is now.
Her love is selfless. She gives and gives till she has nothing left to give. And when she falls into bed exhausted, it is still never too late to listen to her children’s hearts, to pause to pray with them, to give them life.
Her love is honest. She does not pretend that she is perfect. Her love for them is not based upon their performance. It is warm and encompassing, but tells the hard truth even when it hurts, because love is always based on truth.
Her love is hospitable. She doesn’t just mother her own. She opens her home and heart to so many. To the hurting couple, the single mom, the wild child, the lonely neighbor, and the family traveling through. There is always room for one more bowl at the table, one more sleeping bag on the living-room floor, and one more conversation.
Her love is wise. Her years and children have taught her much. She is one to whom many go to for advice, encouragement, and hope.
Her love is inspiring. She is stretched thin, but not too thin to stop and admire beauty and soak in the world around her. She is always learning and inspiring others to do the same through her excitement and passion over God’s word and His world.
Her love is joyous. Laughter, wit, humor. She has an endless supply. With her we laugh till we cry at late night jokes and life’s ironies.
My Mom is amazing. Not perfect, but amazing. She is my hero. Because she reflects our shared Hero, Jesus. She has shown me what Faith and Love truly look like with skin on. When she passes that cup of coffee, she’s really passing the love. The love that embodies her life every day.