I thought I'd post a few pictures of my mom. These are taken during my childhood and are the few I have with me here in Africa.
This one was taken, I believe, before our lives got crazy (aka we moved to Dallas, Texas, then later to Brazil).
Here, we were your average Canadian family at a family picnic. My mom comes from a big German family of 14 surviving children, so I think our picnics pretty much took over the entire park :) When I was young, I thought all normal families consisted of 100-ish people... Anyway, this is us. My older sister, our sweet younger brother, mom, dad, and me (the tow-head at the back, left).
It had been a very difficult year for us as a family adjusting to a drastically different country and culture. If someone had handed us return fares during the first year, I think my parents would have happily hopped on a plane to return to their normal world! That option didn't exist right then, and oddly enough even when the opportunity eventually did roll around, they decided God had called them there to stay and fulfill the calling on their hearts: care for abandoned and needy children. So even though there wasn't much "feel-good"factor in those early years, they stayed. I don't even know how to place a value on the impact parents have on their kids when they don't quit--when they refuse to run away from difficulty--when they stick through the tough times.
Back to the party though, there was a good mix of my American and Brazilian friends at my birthday party. I recall that my mom really knocked herself out to make this birthday a huge smash. She even did my hair in an up-do (yep, that's the back of my head). It's pretty sweet how my little brother is looking at me and smiling and clapping his hands :)
This last photo was taken several years later, after much adjustment and assimilation. After our lives and family grew to accommodate a number of children who had no family and who needed to be sheltered and loved. I remember the names of over half these kids. They were my first "additional" sisters and brothers. I like to tell Mozambicans that I have black brothers in Brazil. :)
The little girl in the front had health issues and her spine was fused when she was very small (you can tell by her posture). She came to stay in our home for awhile and was she sharp as a whip! That was an interesting adjustment. I was about 17 at the time and she loved to snoop through my drawers and test my make-up and chew the Wriggley's gum sent to me especially from Canada. After I left home to study nursing in Canada, she and my little brother became good friends and thick as thieves. It was cool that they had each other, and that together they kept our parents on their toes. Several years after that, my brother (in striped pants on right, above) got sick and, sadly, lost his life. Later on, the little girl did too due to complications from her condition.
In a perfect world, children should not be abandoned and suffer the break-up of their families, and they should not die. But this world is not perfect. It is made a better, however, by the love and self-sacrifice of moms who are willing to love their own, and to love those of others as well.
Thank you, mom, for the love you shared and for the example you were to not only me but to the many children who are and were part of our lives and family as well. My prayer is that this legacy will be passed on many times over. May the generation to come be a big one with hundreds in the family.
That is normal after-all :)
That is normal after-all :)
I love you, Mom. Happy mother's day!