Here are some things about my mom.
My mom drinks Barley Green in the morning, and then uses the same cup to eat her granola and yogurt, and then uses the same cup to drink orange juice, and then wonders what my sister and I are talking about when we tell her it’s disgusting.
My mom’s idea of a good time is going to bed early with a good book and her dog. Probably also her husband now, too, but definitely her dog.
My mom loves to jog. There is no one on planet earth that jogs slower than my mom, but she does it consistently, and has – three times a week – for 40 years. She tells me that she goes swimming, as well, and I believe her, but if it’s anything like her jogging, I wonder if she means floating. In March, while in Ventura for a conference, I went on a run with my mom at a park by her house. She caught her foot in a divot in the grass and fell so hard that I swear I watched her bounce off the ground like a Pixar Minion. My heart hurts thinking about it. My poor, bouncy Minion Mom.
My mom loves to laugh. It takes approximately 2.3 seconds to get her laughing so hard that she’s crying, and it’s usually about absolutely nothing at all. My sister and I will laugh and cry with her while our spouses sit there and shake their heads and roll their eyes and wonder if anything could possibly be more dumb than whatever we happen to be losing our minds over.
My mom listened to Eminem with me when I was really into Encore. I specifically remember one day while still in high-school, driving around Albuquerque, blaring Evil Deeds, I announced to my mom just how much passion Eminem had. Just what a great example he was of an honest lyricist. Meanwhile, she’s subject to phrases like, “Mary had a little lamb, Debbie had a Satan spawn,” wondering what in the world is happening inside of my brain.
My mom kept a running journal of the things that my sister and I would say when we were children. Some of the quotes she has attributed to me include:
Me: “Mom, when we die, do we get clothes in heaven?"
Mom: “Well, the Bible says that we will be clothed in new robes of righteousness.”
Me: “Yeah? Well, I hope God makes mine baggy.”
Me: “Mom, why didn’t God make me black? Black people are cooler than white people.”
You can see my genius starting to take root at a young age.
My mom will talk to me for hours and hours and hours and – after that – more hours. She never seems to tire of my long-windedness. Actually, she seems to encourage it, because she is never at a loss for questions, even if it is actually time to stop asking questions. My mom says things like, “Hmmm, well, let’s see here… I won’t keep you long but while I’ve got you… I was going to ask you something,” and I don’t actually believe that she was going to ask me something, but that brief interlude gives her enough pause to think of one. The last time I visited her in California, my wife couldn’t come, and when my mom asked if Brandi was sad about that, I told her:
“No. Not at all. Brandi says that it’s probably good she’s not here so that we can just talk twenty-four-seven without either of us having to wonder whether or not she’s doing alright as she ignores us in the corner.” Which we laughed too hard at.
My mom is the most kind-hearted and God-fearing woman I have ever met. She is always sending me Bible verses, and prayers, and other people’s prayers who she has asked to pray for me, and notes that she’s scribbled into her prayer journals, and sermons that she thinks are applicable to whatever existential crises I happen to be having, and random pastor’s email addresses that might be interested in booking a show for Levi The Poet.
My mom has been through more in her life than any person should ever have to go through, and stands more faithful and optimistic than anyone I know in spite of it. Her trust and love and generosity and kindness are unparalleled. One of her favorite things to tell me is, “Levi, I’m so glad Jesus let you be a part of my family.” I can’t imagine a better mother to have been given as a son.
My mom and I have similar personalities. We’d both rather avoid conflict than enter into it, which gets us both in trouble. On the upside, though, we can both be one-another’s yes men while we agree - and do not conflict - about how much we hate conflict!
My mom has imparted as much wisdom as I’ve ever received from anyone. She’s empathized with me during the hard years, encouraged me through the darkness, rejoiced with me in the light, celebrated the wins, lent support in the losses, been patient in the in-between and loved her children unconditionally.
I’ve have been remiss to do anything other than write about my mom today. She’ll get this letter as the same time you do (she’s a subscriber – not a paid one though - haha).
To those of you who have a mother like this, thank her today. Make sure she knows what a gift it is to be alive as her child. To those of you who have estranged relationships with your mother today, I am not going to pretend that I understand a single thing about your circumstance, but if I may lend an encouragement: she is worth seeking relationship with. Worth forgiveness and reconciliation if yours is a family that requires need of it. You never know how long you have with your parents, and if it is possible, friendship with them is worth pursuing, while there is still time. I know that this day is not as joy filled for some as it is for others, as well. To those of you who are experiencing the pain of loss and regret today, know that you are not alone in it.
To my mom: Happy Mother’s Day, and to the rest of you who are mothers receiving this today: Happy Mother’s Day. I don’t have children, but have many friends who I’ve watched take on the tedious, grinding, painful joy of parenthood, and it is a beautiful thing to watch their kids flourish beneath their love. Thank you for who you are, seen and known and loved and valuable and royalty as daughters of a king. I pray that today is beautiful.
P.S. – Give your mom a hug.
P.P.S. – Do you have any funny stories about your mom? Share them here, please! Or at least think of them, and laugh about them with her.
P.P.P.S. – This letter for my mom originally went out to all of the folks who are signed up for either the free or paid versions of Fraction – A private, weekly letter from yours truly. If you'd like to sign up, fill out the form below, or consider joining for a small, monthly subscription rate and receive the audio podcast version of the Weekly Letter, discounts on all things LTP, early releases, Google Hangs, and more.