Aside from the gentle, kind encourager, she remains the unyielding example of strength in my life.
Her many hats have included hair-clip maker, cupcake baker, school teacher, Sunday-school teacher, field trip goer, sleepover chaperon and so many more.
This year she retired from 21 years of teaching 7th grade English.
She has taught in the inner city, where her 7th graders dwarfed her almost 5’1” frame.
She has given countless hours of tutoring, debate coaching, spelling bee judging, bus loading coordinating, fundraiser volunteering and even learned a dance for a pep rally a few years ago.
What makes her the perfect example of strength?
Her example. Her absolute dedication to loving children.
A few years ago, we learned of some very sad circumstances in our extended family. Four children, aged 12-17, were going to be split up and put in foster care.
Without any hesitation, mom and dad opened their finally grown home to these teens... Four Teenagers.
For over a year, they reentered the teenage years full of physicals, parent-teacher conferences, updating shot records, after school concerts, homework, and the never ending laundry.
This wasn’t a bake sale over the weekend or a retreat they had to coordinate. This was a day in and day out job of tough love, hurt feelings, sarcasm and tears.
The good news?
It has ended in a family that has been reunited, healed, strengthened and changed.
I love hearing the phone ring when I am at her house and the four kids still asking for Aunt Beth.
They still call her, four years later, for advice and encouragement.
Not everyone gets to share their mom with four other children and thousands of past and present 7th graders, but I am so thankful I do.
I love you mom.
**Thank you for reading the excerpt above updated from a post written in December, 2010**