Missing buttons

Each night in preparation for bed, we fold back the heavy, floral king-sized duvet cover and gently place it on the floor at the foot of our bed. Each morning, or rather some mornings, we hoist the duvet back on the bed and spread its folds allowing it to rest atop its lesser counterparts for 12 hours until we return to repeat the process. After years of tugging and pulling the comforter’s cotton fibers, the red fabric-covered buttons had wriggled free from their threads and resided in my nightstand, no longer performing their duty along the open seam at one end.

For whatever reason this morning, I decided to pull red thread through the eye of the needle and stitch the missing buttons back on the plaid trimmed duvet cover. Halfway through the task, it came. It. Overwhelming sadness. A longing to see the woman who taught me how to hand sew a button back on the material beckoning its help.

Today my mom turns 65 years old and she is celebrating in Heaven as she has for the past three years. I miss her birthday celebration. I miss dinner and the seasonal performance at the Country Dinner Playhouse. I miss driving through neighborhoods gazing at Christmas lights and singing carols, especially Winter Wonderland, her favorite. I miss her laugh, her voice, her touch.

I miss sewing together. Creating, learning, ripping out and re-doing, basking, admiring, loving. Words best describing Mom’s testimony, her love relationship with Jesus. She often referred to her weakness and God’s strength, her failures and God’s successes, her misgivings and God’s love.

My mother affixed buttons of faith into my mind, threading scripture from her red-lettered, King James Bible into my very fibers. Armed with the sword of the spirit, she sewed a patchwork of verses and doctrine that, as a mantle, have covered me. I, too, have failures and many misgivings, but in the years matching the age of my duvet cover, God has shored up the weak threads of my faith and stitched his love buttons onto my heart.

December 19th brings overwhelming sadness, yes, but good news of great joy. For today, I boast of God’s strength, successes and love. He outdoes me, out-gives me, and out-loves me. There are no missing buttons.

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12 thoughts on “Missing buttons

  1. I love you and your writing. Your love for your mom has tears running down my face. Linda’s love of Jesus was an inspiration for you and all that were touched by her.

  2. Natalie, your mother was a dear friend. Her name still comes up often at MOPS. She was so very proud of you and your brother and the grandchildren. Thank you for writing this piece.

  3. All I can say is your mom must have been some kind of lady. Every time you speak or write about her I can imagine her sweetness. Plus, you’re her living legacy and what a woman you are! I know she’s so proud of you Natalie.

  4. Wow, was out sick yesterday & just now saw this. Natalie, how beautiful, how fitting & a perfect glimps & reminder of your mom. So precious. As I was reading I could hear that”Happy Holidays” southern drawl she would say & it started in Nov & didn’t end till it ended in Jan. I would often ask what are you up to & she would say oh, me & nat are sewing, “curtains, costums, etc,etc, etc, or me & nat are making christmas ornaments. I never felt I had a talent creatively but, your mom thought otherwise & promptly started teaching me crafts. Now I never look @ something & say I can’t ,I look @ it & say just show me how & I can. She’d say, you were just never taught. She would say we will do it together & I will help you. To this day those ornments & crafts are of special times spent with my wonderful friend & mentor. But, as some have said, the biggest gift of all was her gift of introducing me to my savior. But,true to form she didn’t stop there, she made sure as you said Natalie, it was woven into my core, my being & never stopped shy of correctiing me when I needed it or giving praise when deserved. Always the exhorter, always, the friend you needed & in the end she allowed me to be the “Paul”, to be able to give back to her in a small part all that she instilled in me & it brought us it full circle. Now, the Lord has me mentoring in the lives of many a women. I find that the Paul & Timothy relationship she & I had is now ones I have with the women in my life. Her voice, her words of wisdom & her love for the lord truly lives on but, none greater than you Ms. Natalie… you are the the shinnning star, her truest & greatest example of all her best. Thank you for sharing this, it brought back some fond memories of our time together. Happy Birthday Ms. Linda Kay Hilton, you are greatly missed & still very much loved & admired.
    Your Friend
    Roxanna
    Pickel

    • Roxanne,

      I can hear you impersonating my mom as I read. I think we all have our version of ‘Linda’ speak; too many syllables said with a smile. I’m so glad that you knew her well. So often, we refer to people as friends without knowing their hurts, desires, needs, and loss. I’m thankful that y’all shared a deep friendship and that you’re not afraid to enter into more friendships even though losing them will rip your insides out. I love you and thank you for encouraging me. Merry Christmas!

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