Three Things I Miss Most about My Mom

Written By: Kim - May• 11•13

It has been 11 years since my Mom passed away. In celebration of Mom’s everywhere, here’s a post remembering the woman who gave birth to and raised me. While I miss many things about my Mom, here are my top three.

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

  1. Her gift of voice. Kids now do not really understand how loud a mother’s voice can be. We had old school cell phones: Mom yelling throughout the neighborhood for you to come home for dinner. If you could not hear your Mom’s voice, then you must have left the neighborhood. There would be hell to pay when you finally showed up late. At the time my Mom died, she did not own a cell phone so there is no outgoing voicemail message I can call and listen to. And, quite frankly, even if she had, my Dad probably would have cancelled it by now anyway. He is pragmatic about paying a bill for something that is no longer necessary. I have old film and audio tapes that I am sure I could have converted so I could listen and watch. But, honestly, I am not sure how painful that would be.
  2. Her gift of possibility. My Mom told me that I could do and be anything I wanted. The oldest child of Italian immigrants, my Mom grew up in the depression. She lived through World War II while her parents ran a local grocery store. She raised her four children alone after her first marriage dissolved. She continued to raise the younger of the four and me, partially alone when my Dad was deployed with the US Army. Aside from the challenges she faced, she gave me unconditional love and raised me with good self esteem. I saw her attend junior college classes in her 50s. I saw her stand by her man through his struggle with alcoholism, his eventual win and conversion to Catholicism. Anything is possible.
  3. Her gift of faith. My mother had a good life, but she also had a realistic life. Ups and downs were simply part of it. She handled them well whether that meant private anguish or public gracefulness.

Other than literally hearing my Mom’s voice, the two things that I miss the most have never really left me. She instilled in me the gift of possibility and faith. Perhaps that is why she used to remind me: “With God, all things are possible.”

For those of you who still have your Mom around, give her an extra hug for those of us who are now motherless. And thank her again for all that she has done for you. You never really understand that until you become a Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A True Open Door Policy

Written By: Kim - Feb• 17•13

My daughter plays basketball for our church’s youth league. Because our gym is two inches smaller than the specs for older children to play upon, we spend a lot of time during basketball season traveling around Northern Virginia. We were at a parish in yesterday. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. I am directionally challenged and often make wrong turns even with a GPS. I always try to allow for extra time just in case.

Once the gym was open, the team ventured inside to warm up. I walked over to the church to see what it was like inside and to grab 10 minutes of peace. The church is fairly new. The copper bell tower has not even weathered yet. It was still bright and shiny, even on an overcast, cold winter day.

┬ęKim Howard 2013

┬ęKim Howard 2013

When I finished my prayers, I quickly snapped a picture of the alter at St. Theresa’s. While places of worship vary in their majesty, what I often marvel at the open door policy. You would be hard pressed to find a locked church door in the US. When we vacationed in Italy, the church doors were open as well. I suspect that you will find this policy world wide. I also suspect the attitude about open doors includes synagogues and mosques. There are valuable items inside a place of worship yet the doors are always open. But the regulars understand there is something more valuable than the material things. I am talking about the openness; the quietness; the ability to reflect, pray and quite frankly, decompress.

I don’t pretend to know all the tenants of my faith. Catholicism is not only steeped in tradition, it has also been marred by controversy and scandal of its own doing. But when I enter a church, my time there becomes about my relationship with God. To be honest, I am just glad the rafters don’t cave in. While I have not committed heinous acts, I am not always a good Christian. I just keep on trying to be better. The trappings of the building do not matter. Some would argue that the building is not even necessary. I disagree. I believe that worshipping as a community brings a huge benefit to all those involved. Your faith is never about “them” it’s about you and your God.

So, if you have pondered what would happen if you entered a church, synagogue or mosque, never fear. The roof will stay in tact. What matters is that you have made the journey to be open, quiet, reflective, prayerful and yes, even to find some peace. The journey starts with the first step.