Remembering Mom: The Leader of all Things Wild and Crazy

This week, my friend Janine shares memories of her mom.

Mary Lynette Franklin (nee Foster) 

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This is my favourite picture of her.  It captures her essence, her smile.  And the pearls…she had a flare for the fancy amidst the country bumpkin!

 

Someone once told me that time heals the hurt of loss.  I think time just changes the hurt.  

Missing my mom sometimes comes in waves of pure happiness when I think of the little nuances of her—her smell, the little bump on the side of her nose (from when she was bit by a dog as a little girl), and her face after she found me curled up in the back of our turquoise Volvo wagon.  I had popped the most enormous bubble for an 8 year old and had bubblegum stuck on many parts of my hands, face and hair.   

These memories can and often do turn to sadness when I think of her not being here.

I often wonder what we would do together now that I am a woman—springtime walks where she would teach me all the names of the wild flowers, baking lessons perfecting pastry, afternoon chats over tea, family meals filled with laughter and storytelling, my wedding day, and sharing tears over life’s mistakes and lessons.

Mother’s day, her birthday, the day she died…are little moments when I exhale.  I try not to stay in this place because it can quickly overwhelm. Instead my heart shifts to a place of gratitude and love for the incredible women in my life that have become second moms to me. It is like God knew and placed the most wonderful women from diverse backgrounds to teach me about strength, dignity, love and hope, while my mom looks on from heaven.

Parents often talk about their children as precious gifts. For me, my mom was my precious gift.  For a short 13 years, she was in my life—guiding, nurturing, loving, and providing places of safety, curiosity and fun.

Lessons from Mom

Ask the ladybugs to stay, they kill the bad bugs of the garden.
Say sorry when it’s your fault, and sometimes when it’s not.
Girls have 3 holes.  Babies don’t come out of the same place as you pee.
Honesty is the best medicine, even when it hurts.
Live as if today were your last.
Love with all your heart.

I loved the unashamed, unconditional love and passion she had for people.  She was fierce really — passionately pursuing people and letting them know their value.

She was a woman who picked up strangers on the road to drive them to their destination and would deliver meals to families in need. Our door was always open for friends and family to stop by – for tea, lunch, or chat.  Always giving of her time, she valued family and did her best to bring us all together.

Every summer, we would go to Camp Mini-Yo-We.  This camp has heaps of history in our family. My grandparents helped build it. My aunt and uncle were married there. All of us (cuzzies and all) were campers, counsellors and program directors of some sort. We spent anywhere between 2 weeks to 2 months on Mary Lake enjoying the fun, adventure and camp festivities each summer. Camp was the best part of our vacation.

When I was a young camper, I remember my mom helping us pack, taking us to get bags of candy from the Bulk Barn, giving us letter writing material (Holly Hobby and Hello Kitty were my favourite), dropping us off, and visiting us on Sundays.  Throughout the weeks, I’d discover little love notes from my mom. She was so creative in using pictures, designs, and symbols to code her sweet messages. It was seriously awesome!

She was the leader of all things wild and crazy. She organized the most sophisticated camp pranks and raids…

My mom was the camp nurse for a few summers, while I was a senior camper and counsellor in training. I remember one morning heading for breakfast only to realize she had stolen a number of items from the different sections and used them to decorate the nursing station.

From the Minis, the youngest campers, she took all the shoes. From the Yos, middle age campers, she took bathing suits. And from the Wes, the older of campers, she stole all the training bras. How she did this, I have no idea. They talked about this mischievous raid for years.

She was a legend! 

 

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My Mom was beautiful.  She had thick black hair and was tall with legs that stretched for miles.  She had an olive complexion and a contagious laugh.

 

God tells us that we are all masterpieces—unique and created for a destiny designed only for us.  My mom believed this.  

She held tight to her love for God and was a woman who knew how to shine His love!  That made her incredible. 

 

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This picture holds a special place in my heart.  My mom was 6 months pregnant with me in her belly!  A few years back, while I was visiting my auntie and uncle in England, my uncle went to his study one evening and returned with a little box of treasures to share with me – little trinkets and photos my mom shared with them across the ocean.  This photo was in that box.  It took me by surprise, as I had never seen my mom pregnant before, and with me no less.  Together we had a cry and spoke of how elegant and graceful she was.

 

I focus on the excitement of reuniting with her for the eternity we will spend together.

Writer’s Note:  This piece was written by Mary’s daughter, Janine.  Janine and I met about seven years ago through work.  Through the years I have always enjoyed hearing stories of her mom.  She sounded like such a character and I could see where Janine and her brother Mark got their silly and fun sides from!

Thank you for sharing your memories of her, Janine.  The leader of all things wild and crazy, her love for God, passionately pursuing people and letting them know their value… you share so many similarities to your mom.  I think your family continues to have a little piece of her, through you.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment for Janine or click ‘like’ to let her know that you enjoyed her writing!  Thank you!