So today is my mom’s birthday — Cheryl Nold. Formerly called Cheryl Duncan, but I didn’t really know her in those days. Now…at least in our family she will more often turn her head to the sound of “Nana.” But for me she has always been and always will be… mom. So let me take just a moment or two and tell you why I love my mom and why today is a good day to celebrate.
1) She helped me pull off one of the greatest pranks in Chester High School history. Doesn’t matter if everyone doesn’t remember, I do. I could take the time to tell you what the prank was…but that doesn’t really matter. What I remember most is that it involved sneaking into the school after hours (okay the rigid among you would call that breaking and entering) and she helped me. She loves to have fun.
2) She grew up in Long Beach, California — as much a city-girl as a city-girl could ever be — but after she married dad she followed him to South Dakota, in the winter. The first house she owned had no running water and an outhouse — for those of you unsure what an outhouse is…see the picture and imagine that in the winter. The point? She loves my dad. Always has and always will.
3) She made me read the Bible when I was a kid. In fact — and I know parenting experts might shudder — but sometimes reading the Bible was even my discipline for messing up! Part of my love for the Bible most definitely comes from her.
4) It was her idea to burn down the house that I grew up in. Long story — but I think it reminds me that stuff was never my mom’s main passion. One of the highlights of my last few years is standing around the fire with my siblings, watching the house burn and knowing that everything I gained of value in that house…I carry around in my heart.
5) She made me go to church when I was a kid. (Okay Dad had a part in that too.) It wasn’t optional. Sports – optional. Studying for a test – optional. Time with my friends – optional. TV – optional. Church — not optional. And she loved church, she didn’t always love what happened in the church, especially when people tried to build little kingdoms — but she loved church. She loved God. She loved kids meeting God in church. No small part of my passion for church comes from my mom.
6) My kids love her. When they were small she was always on the floor playing with them. When they got bigger she was always taking them someplace fun. And she always seemed so glorious in the mess of grandkids. She makes an incredible Nana.
7) She’s afraid of heights. Which has led to some pretty great, funny, vacation moments. Trips over mountains and the log ride at Silver Dollar City to name a couple.
8) She loves God. I’ve hinted at that one somewhat already — but it bears repeating. It really shapes who she is. I don’t think I know anyone who loves God anymore than she does.
9) She has been a tremendous encouragement to me. Whether it was sports, academics, ministry, marriage, family or just life. But one of the greatest gifts she ever gave me was while I was in college, continuously calling home with my problems. Finally she said, “Dan you know I love you and you know you are always welcome home. But I think, if you want to grow up, you need to start figuring out some of your own problems.” What does that have to do with encouragement? It was mom saying, “I know you are ready.”
10) She loves life. Nuff said.
Happy Birthday Mom…without you not only would I not be… :) but more importantly I wouldn’t be who I am.