By: Staci Stallings
I always wondered how my Mom collected children the way she does. Of course, she always wanted kids—lots and lots of kids. Unfortunately, she ended up having only three (although she insists it was “fortunately”). Nonetheless, she was never one to cry about what she didn’t have, so she poured herself into us and taught us how to love so that people would migrate to us. As they migrated to us, they migrated to her as well. Our friends were her friends. They were as welcome at her house as we were. Plus, they never had to worry about being grounded. And so they came.
First it was our high school friends, who gladly went and ate out with my folks most Saturday nights and then came home with us to play the game of the month—Michigan Rummy, Pictionary, Back-up Three. We stayed up until four in the morning many, many nights fighting for the right card or screaming out things that sounded like something else. Slowly-but-surely, one-by-one Mom collected a few more kids.
Then we went off to college, and the merry-go-round of roommates and friends coming home started. Dances, parties, or just coming home to be home, they came, and she welcomed them all. There was always enough to eat and plenty of room to sleep—even if it was on the floor.
As college days waned, we each got married, and Mom added a few more “kids” to her collection. Their pictures now grace her walls right along with ours. It wasn’t long, and we began having a whole new batch of kids for Mom to love. However, we quickly noticed that she wasn’t as tough on them as she was on us. If they spilled something, it could be cleaned. If they left their toys out, they could be picked up. It took another 13 years, but she added ten more “grand” kids to her growing list.
Only then, however, did the exponential compounding interest of her love investments begin kicking in. You see, I’m a lot like her. I welcome people into my home to laugh, to play, and to live. As they began to know me, they eventually met her, and once again the additions started.
The other day one of these as Mom calls them “fate grandkids” showed up at my house. I said, “Oh, Mom and I were talking about you today. She said to tell you that she loves you.” The young lady sat for a moment before saying, “And…?” “And nothing. Just that she loves you. Why, is that weird?”
She looked slightly bewildered. “Yeah. It is. No one ever told me they loved me just because before.”
Finally, I now understand how Mom does it.