A Mom at Seventeen…

My mom in Highland park sporting her hippie look. Just a couple years before she had me.

Proverbs 31:28 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.”

Okay, that verse right there is proof that the “Proverbs 31 Woman” (that woman we all internally grumble about because we can’t live up to her perfection) must be middle-aged and probably a grandmother. How is this verse proof of that? Because unless it’s Mother’s Day (and often not even then) how often do your children arise and call you blessed? Seriously. They probably won’t do that until they have kids of their own. Because that’s when the lightbulb goes on.

I know it did for me. I was 22 years old when I had my daughter. I remember being absolutely amazed at how beautiful she was. Her perfect little pink rosebud lips and her strawberry blond hair. I remember trying to figure out how to nurse her and how to soothe her when she cried. But the nurses were just a few steps away if I had questions and all went fairly smoothly in the hospital.

Once I got home, it was a different story. That little peanut just did not like it if I sat down. She was only happy if I was holding her and walking with her. No sitting, no standing. Maybe she was trying to help me lose my baby weight but I just thought I was losing my mind.

The first night at home, I remember it being the middle of the night, she had been crying for what seemed like hours. Nothing calmed her and I didn’t know what to do. I was pacing my room with her in my arms and tears of exhaustion running down my cheeks when my mom came to the rescue. She had been staying with us in Virginia, anticipating the arrival of her first grand baby, and she swooped in and extended her arms to my little ball of fury and told me to get some sleep.

I so wanted to be a good mom and to be able to do it myself. But the truth was, I really needed some help at that point. Bill wanted to help but he wasn’t having any luck either and both of us were just worn out. So I handed her over and crawled into bed. I didn’t allow my lids to close right away, too stressed that my mom was having to hold my screaming baby for me, but eventually I drifted off and got several hours of sleep. That next morning, I’m quite sure I arose and called my mom blessed.

My little girl...past the colicky phase by this point. Thank you God!

My respect for all she had done as a mom only grew from there. You see, she got married and had me when she was seventeen years old. Now when I was five, seventeen seemed ancient. I couldn’t appreciate it. But when I was 22 and nursing my baby and dealing with colic as my mother had with me, I couldn’t fathom having done it as a seventeen year old.

My daughter turns 17 this week. That really puts my mom’s sacrifices into perspective for me. She had other options. But she didn’t consider any of them. She had me when she was still something of a child herself and she worked hard and against the odds to raise me, and later my four siblings, in difficult circumstances.

Imagine being a very young wife and mother with very little money. Moving from the city, where you’d spent your whole life, to the country. Into a rickety old house with no indoor plumbing and no heat…in the middle of winter. Add to that, you don’t have a driver’s license so you are totally dependent on your husband, who is gone all day at work. This was the start of her motherhood journey. Incredible.

By the time she was 31 years old, she had 5 children. We were still living in the country. She still didn’t have her license and we were living in a 200-year-old farm-house with a wood burning stove and a kerosene heater to keep us warm in the winter. The smallest room heated the quickest so my dad would light the kerosene heater in the early morning before he left for work and put it in the bathroom. We would all take turns sprinting to the bathroom to get ready for school amidst the glow of the kerosene heater.

Despite all the hardships and difficulties, my mom persevered. She taught me the importance of trusting in God. It was how she got through each day. In my mind I can still see her worn, weathered Bible sitting on the table next to her morning cup of coffee. She knew how to start her day. (Yes, I’m referring to both the Bible and the coffee ;)) She taught me that God looks at the heart, not the kind of jeans you wear or the kind of car you drive. She taught me that God’s promises are true and he can be trusted. Thanks to her faith, I put my trust in God at a young age and was spared a lot of the pain that comes with poor teenage choices. She taught all her kids the importance of faith and that is her legacy.

Thank you mom, for braving motherhood at seventeen. For rocking this colicky baby to sleep and years later doing the same for my colicky one. For majoring on the majors…teaching us to love Jesus and love each other. You are a hero and you are my Proverbs 31 Woman. I call you “Blessed.” Happy Mother’s Day!

Love,

Bekah

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12 thoughts on “A Mom at Seventeen…”

    1. Thanks Lisa. That’s truly the key. One day at a time…and finding something to be thankful for in each one of those days, no matter what we may be dealing with. Thanks for a fun visit today 🙂

  1. Beautiful tribute to a strong and beautiful lady…inside and out! Certainly you were all blessed to have her in your life… her friends are too! Love you all…. Laurie

  2. My dear Rebekah, Thankyou for writing such a lovely tribute…you definitely made me cry…..your Dad read it and even he had tears running down his face. It’s true that we don’t always realize the truth about our mom’s until we are in their shoes. I am glad I will someday get to tell my mom, in heaven, how much I understand and value all she went through and all the good things she taught me.

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