My Leap-Year Mother

Today my mom would be 96.  Actually she’d only be celebrating her 24th birthday.  I think of my mom often. At least every Mother’s Day, and usually February 28th.

In my family, it’s not uncommon for any one of us at any given time to say something like, “Well, I’m a Smith after all”.  Honestly, we don’t always mean that in a super-positive way. We’re usually expressing a strong opinion, or showing our ability to exercise impatience, or simply just being kinda loud about something.

My dad was a really good dad.  He was a great preacher, missionary and leader among those he worked with and those who knew him well. However, he was not known for being patient, nor was he the quiet, passive type.  He was affectionately known as “Big Jim” by pastors and church members of the places he and mom visited as missionaries. I often wondered if people called him that for more than being a tall man.  If he was in the room, everyone in the room knew it. And I love him for all that and so much more. 

Today, I woke up thinking about mom.  Helen Josephine Darling.  And I wondered why we never said, “after all, I am a Darling”.  I know the last name is carried on by the father’s line. I get that. But I do see a lot of the “Darling” in my siblings as well as the stronger, more dominant, “Smith”. I’m thankful the Lord gave us both!

Mom was quieter. She was a worker. She was patient and kind. Always made room for whoever was going to show up.  She loved her kids. She was always present, always active. Her ten kids were never in the house all at the same time (thank goodness!), but there was always a full table. She kept the entire operation moving along.

We’ve all shared various memories of mom over the years, since her death at age 63. Most recall as kids coming down what seemed like a long hallway in the early morning to find mom sitting in her chair by the front window with her Bible and her Daily Bread devotional book.  I don’t remember her talking a lot about it. She just did it.

This morning I read Proverbs 29:23  “A humble spirit will obtain honor.”

Today, along with my 7 remaining siblings and a host of grands and great-grands, we honor mom.  I would like to be known as a “Darling” as much as anything.  Wouldn’t you? I miss her.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Gal 5:22–23

3 thoughts on “My Leap-Year Mother

  1. This is a really great tribute your special mom! Thank you Mark for sharing your thoughts. And just so you know, being a “Darling” myself, I see a lot of the Darling traits in you and your siblings.

  2. Edward Acosta

    Thank you for that insight into your past and incredible mother. She is looking at you now with so much pride and affection I’m sure.

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