The iorning board, with its pale green cover, stands in a corner of my bedroom and every time I look at it, it speaks of how much love empowered the hours of hard manual labor Mom invested in caring for her family. I also smile, because that work strengthened her hands so much that she rarely had to ask Daddy to open jars for her.
She covered the ironing board for me decades ago now, decades before her strokes began the long, slow decline that has now ended with her enjoying the fruit of her righteous life in heaven now. She made the ironing board cover more than 40 years ago, when I was privileged to be a a stay-at-home for three tender years.
Having ironed and sewn since her own childhood, she knew the value of a good ironing board cover. I remember her showing me each step, so I could do it myself, little knowing the one she was making would last my lifetime and beyond.
She cut a thick towel a bit bigger than that distinctive rectangular shape, then covered it with a sheet double-folded. Starting at one end, she secured all the layers snugly from underneath with about two dozen safety pins, then basted the top in place, carefully inserting the needle through each hole. Next, she attached the ironing board cover springs, which I don’t think you can even find anymore!
It was during this last step that I remember seeing her hands strain and the tendons stand out. I noticed, yet again, that her wrists were thick and strong in comparison to her long delicate fingers. Years of rubbing clothes on a washboard and wringing them out by hand as a young girl and helping with farm chores had begun strengthening those hands.
Then had come diapers on a washboard for the first of her three children (before they could afford a washer), not to mention lifting cast iron skillets every day, sweeping and mopping the entire house, and all the manual labor that homemaking was back in the 1950s and 60s. Those strong hands and arms were necessary, just like the Proverbs 31 woman.
And I never once heard her complain. She always described herself as a “homemaker”, not a housewife, and that is what she was and what she did. Her eulogy, based on Proverbs 31, was easy to write because she had lived out so many examples.
I praise and honor her memory, with deep, deep gratitude. When I see her on the other side of glory, I think I will spend about a thousand years or so, just hugging her and saying thank you – only then I will have the words to express how much I mean it and how deeply I now understand her unconditional love for her family.
Thank you, Lord, for two wonderful parents. Show me how to use my words to inspire others to be the same for their own children.