My mom had to quit her job at a photo lab when she found out she was pregnant with her firstborn. She didn’t want to be working around all the chemicals (the days of film…remember those?), but I love to joke that I was obviously exposed to just enough of it to get hooked on photography.
Mom in Turkey in 2012.
My mom inspired my love of photography early on with regular slideshow viewings of her travels throughout Europe in the 70′s, her help with my first ‘big’ purchase around age 7 — a Vivitar point and shoot that I still own and had bought with my saved up allowance, and her passing down of manual shooting techniques on a beautiful old Nikon which I hope to pass on one day to our children.
Photography wasn’t the only point of inspiration my mom has blessed me with. One of the things I admire most about my mom is her determination to conquer anything she puts her mind to. My dad had to spend a lot of time away with work when I was growing up, so she was left to run our rural home on 30 acres in the middle of the Canadian Prairies. She canned, cooked, taught us to cross-country ski, tackled small engine repairs, and made sure every day to instill in us the promises of God and His Word. She prayed with my sister and I every night and cultivated deep bonds with us through both strong discipline and sweet friendship. I couldn’t ask for a better kind of mother-daughter relationship and I know I can speak for both Jacqui and I on that score.
One of my most favourite things to share with my mom is the art and adventure of travel. Our travel styles are virtually identical and even while backpacking through Morocco, Spain, the Philippines, and Turkey we rarely argued. I grew up mesmerized by her tales of smuggling Bibles into Communist countries and photographing her way through Europe. Exploring the world together and adding to our sometimes shared stack of Lonely Planet guidebooks is not just a hobby, it’s a passion.
One of my newer passions is hunting, and I’ve also had the privilege of being inspired by her hunting adventures and prowess in the wild. The best part has been being able to hunt alongside her, and finally a year and a half ago, my mom guided me to my first buck. She spotted the buck, helped get me into position and then stood back as I made the kill, ever so proud and ever so camouflaged! She’s a stealth hunter and a stellar shot and has taught me that a woman of God can become exceptional in any field, so long as she’s following the Lord.
Undeniably, there are still a lot of things I need to learn from my mom, especially as I begin this incredible journey into motherhood. I am not naturally as compassionate and empathetic as she is–my sister wound up with those traits, but I have had to struggle to make those qualities more a part of my life. Thankfully, I’ve had plenty of examples to learn from as I watched my mom spend the better part of the last 20 years as a rope rescue instructor for Vernon Search and Rescue. She’s actually only the second woman in the province of British Colombia to be endowed with this honour, and she deserves it completely. I can’t count the number of nights I prayed for her safe return, knowing she was clambering down cliffs, being lowered into the snow by chopper, and traversing tumultuous waters to search for someone else’s loved one. She has also spent many years caring for her own mother, who is 95 and still loving and serving God through her music, prayers and generous love. And of course, she’s cared for and rescued me. This past fall, Mom flew all the way to Aqaba, Jordan when I landed up in the local military hospital after fracturing my pelvis in two places (if you haven’t heard the story, I fell off a camel…no joke, even though it sounds ridiculous!). Will and I had just left the hospital and were about to spend three weeks in a local hotel as I couldn’t fly home yet, and mom came to help Will take care of me. Turns out we both needed some care taking as Will was fairly drained from the whole ordeal and our relationship had hit a crazy kind of low…we love each other to bits, but I now have a new appreciation for what couples under intense duress can experience. I’ll never forget lying in a middle eastern emergency room desperately wanting my mom, and then the sheer relief of seeing her turn up two weeks later with her bags packed FULL of things to help me through my recovery. I think she only packed a couple outfits for herself…the rest of her luggage was for my benefit. Words can’t fully express the gratitude I feel, but I’m sure I’ll have countless opportunities to love my own daughter in the same way. Hopefully they don’t involve camel falls.
If there’s one Scripture that stands out to me regarding my mom, it’s probably the oft-quoted verse from Proverbs 31, which really does embody how our family feels about her:
28 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: 29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
I grew up with my dad bragging unashamedly about how beautiful, skilled, and strong my mom is, which is pretty awesome to hear as a young girl and even now as a grown woman. My sister and I don’t hesitate either when people ask us about our mom…we brag just as proudly!
Mom, I love being your daughter, and I am extra excited to bring a daughter into this world, specifically because of the relationship you and I have. Thank you for being a fiercely protective, super-compassionate mom who has balanced personal sacrifice with the pursuit of own dreams. I hope to be just as good an example of a godly woman to my daughter as you have been to me!
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 31 Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.
Happy Mother’s Day mom!