As a first-grader, I perceived how important our kitchen table was. It was where we ate all our meals, did homework, and played board games. It was also where my mother waited for me each weekday with an after-school snack. Although she had four other kids arriving home, dinner to prepare, and homework to oversee, she found time to sit with me.
My mother poured out her excellence and stirred it thoroughly into every aspect of our lives. It was at a neighbor’s house that I had my first taste of Pop-Tarts and Twinkies, and I knew even then that nothing that came wrapped in cellophane compared to my mom’s pies, brownies, and cakes. Our food was always homemade, and the kitchen table was the heart of my mother’s ministry.
Motherhood has been my mom’s vocation, not just her role. She has always had “loaves-and-fishes” faith (Matt. 14:13-21). Resources have always seemed to multiply in her hands. When we were kids, I remember her saving money out of the food budget all year to buy us summer passes to the swimming pool. Over and over she believed God would make things happen for us that had been ruled out or that seemed impossible.
Having a faith that God supplies is something my mom learned from her mother and then passed on to me. Although my parents lived on one income, my mother believed we’d always have what we needed when we needed it. I was in middle school when a friend from an affluent family came over to eat dinner at my house. The next day at school, she made fun of my family for having a picnic table as our dining table. I had never thought of it as outdoor furniture. It perfectly fit us, and there was always room for more if we had guests.
When a woman’s motherhood is a vocation and not just a role, she does it all through her life. As an empty nester, my mom went to college. She then worked for almost twenty years in foster care as a case manager. She bought her foster kids Christmas presents and was often the only one who was with them at their high school graduations. My mother would never say she was successful or important, but she has completely invested herself in loving and supporting children and our family. And to me, that’s a success!
With my own son, I also stepped into the calling of motherhood. In middle school, my son was switched from a Christian school to a secular academy. Although most of the kids were financially well off, they did not go home to a parent. My son came to our restaurant after school, which is where I waited for him every day. We did his homework together at a large round table. Within six months, he was bringing four or five of his friends with him daily, and I fed them before they did homework. Even if my son stayed after school, several of the boys showed up without him because they felt so comfortable there. I knew it was because of the mothering heart in me.
Seeing motherhood as a calling doesn’t mean you can always be at home with your children, but it does mean that you give the best to those you mother.