Last weekend, we went to Rob's cousin's house for New Year's Day and had a wonderful time. I love both sides of Robert's family because they are all lovely people - but this side of his family reminds me a little more of mine. They are just sort of "down home" people, you know? Warm and welcoming, give-you-the-shirt-off-their backs kinda people - the kind I hope my girls grow up and emulate.
I think because my own mom and dad are gone, I am even more grateful for family connections like these ones. And, while we were there I got to spend some time with Aunt Pat. I've loved Aunt Pat since the first day we spoke. When we met, I felt I'd found a rare kindred spirit - and and it's my good fortune that she loves me right back!
While we caught up, she told me that she recently mentioned me to someone who doesn't know me and said, "I wish you knew my Monna. She is a wonderful mom and does a great job loving her kids and having fun with them."
On some occasions we receive genuine words of love and kindness that reach straight into our hearts. This was one of those occasions. Something about that possessive, "my Monna" left a lump in my throat. I batted back some tears so I could maintain some sense of self possession while we finished talking. But when I got to the car and told my husband about it I found tears streaming down my face.
It's really rare for me to hear compliments like this these days without my mom around to give them. I felt loved - and reassured of my mothering value. My confidence had taken a plunge in December with the crazy schedule, excess amounts of sugar and sleep deprived kids who were way less responsive than usual. Even more than the boost of confidence, Pat's words left me feeling that I belong to my chosen family. That is a good feeling.
The little exchange got me to thinking. When was the last time my words gave someone else a sense of belonging? A real genuine word of encouragement - that reminds someone they are good at what they have chosen as their life's work? Today, I'm going to find someone who needs a word like that and pass on a little of the love I've received...