When my mother’s failing health made it impossible for her to continue to live independently, we moved in together. My mother’s care gradually fell more and more onto my shoulders and, as her health declined, she became increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with her failing strength and abilities. Knowing how hard it must be for her, I tried to be understanding of her frequent criticism and complaints, but I was working full-time and was often resentful of her demands.
One day, while doing my annual New Year’s clear out, I came across a box of old papers and found a Mother’s Day card I had made for Mom over a decade before. Along with the card, I had included slips of paper printed with happy memories of times spent with my mother from my early childhood until I was a young adult. The slips were meant to be read, one per day, as a reminder of my love and appreciation. It was obvious that my mother had read them all, returned them to the envelope with the card, and packed it away.
I pulled out the slips of paper and read them; smiling, laughing, with a lump in my throat as I remembered my mother in the years before age and strokes had made her so dependent upon me.
God knew of the growing resentment I had been feeling about Mom’s increasing demands. I am sure it was His nudge that led me to decide to clean out that particular box. I am so glad I responded and took the time to read those memories.
I put that envelope on my bedside table to remind me how blessed I was to have my mother with me. In the months I was able to share with her before she died, those memories cleared away my clutter of resentment and made way for love and appreciation.
When we get bogged down in daily irritations it is easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for. It it time for you to do a New Year’s clear-out today?