Happy Mother’s Day! Perfect time to take a little break from my series on “honor”, to say a few words about my lovely wife Heather Shah….mother of my 4 unique children.
Last night my family went to Huntington Park and had a blast as we watched our first ever Columbus Clippers game. Despite being a mildly athletic middle-aged man with one hip, I did catch a foul ball…which is being proudly displayed by Meghan. But enough about me….the real story is how the evening captured so much of what makes Heather Shah a fabulous mom (and wife).
Now I don’t want to gush too much here, so let me describe this amazing woman to you in 4 words….
In our almost 18 years of marriage, this woman has taken me by the hand and literally dragged me off the couch and into the world. To experience life. No fears, no worries…just days that are full. Appreciating God’s creation. Searching for adventure. Bringing a vibrancy & energy to whatever we do. A friend recently told us that they thought Heather is one of those unique people who has “it”. Is able to change a room, and connect with almost anyone. Heather didn’t buy it, but I did.
This has made her an incredible mother. What she has done for me….she is doing for each of our kids.
My kids are weird and wonderful as a result.
During the 6th inning, when most of the fans were getting tired or drunk, there she was, leading the kids in singing along with the chants of the ballpark. “Here we go Clippers…..here we go!!” Song after song, we stood and danced, all alone in section 25, in the hopes of getting on the big screen. At one point, my eldest son Sammy whispered to me…”dad, do you realize we are the only people in the stadium chanting right now?”
Yes son, I know. Your mother doesn’t do things half-heartedly.
Yet, for all her fire and sass, Heather genuinely loves people. She sees needs and meets them. She is one of those people that will actually LISTEN to people and take time to connect. Her faith isn’t just a theory, but her love for God translates into a love for those around her. She laughs with those who laugh and knows how to mourn with those in sorrow. See, often adventurers are somewhat self-absorbed. This is not the case with Heather Shah.
And the kids have been SO BLESSED by this. When Meghan was “too hot” at the stadium, Heather held her coat. Four minutes later when she was “too cold” she got it back and a blanket as well. I had wondered why she was carrying in so many things to the park….but as the innings wore on I began to realize….she has anticipated the needs of every child in the family.
Then, after a long night at the park, we got home and I went straight to the couch. As I watched the Brooklyn Nets goon their way back into the series against the Heat (apparently the Nets new strategy is to send their scrubs in to assault Ray Allen), Heather went and had deep conversations with the kids. She talked about their day and prayed with each of them.
She is a much nicer parent than I. And our kids are learning how to love because of her example.
For someone with such personality, Heather has a simple purity to her as well. In a sarcastic, cynical world, she is humble, innocent and unfailingly honest. Not a false bone in her body. She has no interest in being ‘cool’ or ‘relevant’. She has this child-like faith, purity of spirit, and wide-eyed innocence that gets battered by the worries of the world, but still stands strong. She runs back to the hope and confidence we have in Christ.
As we watched the game yesterday, Meghan kept asking questions about baseball. Heather got them all wrong. Isaac would correct her & they would laugh. She had nothing to prove.
Later she took them onto the ‘lawn’ section of the stands…so they could play on the grass. I’m pretty sure no one else over the age of 5 had that much fun.
Then they went on a snack run. I wish I had taken a picture of their sheer delight. Heather brought back “funnel cake fries”…grinning from ear to ear…..she didn’t know such things were possible.
I see that innocence in our children as well. They are innocent about evil, and are coming to love what is good. They have not been overcome by cynicism, and negativity and discontentment.
And we laugh a lot.
In the midst of it all, Heather Shah is my Elizabeth Bennett (i know, i dropped Ray Allen & Elizabeth Bennett references in the same post) A woman of strength, full of dignity and energy, who stands on the side of what is right. When there is a battle to be fought, she is ready to fight it. Even if it is a battle or a mission she didn’t ask for, or doesn’t naturally like. She’ll still tackle it with integrity and honor. She takes seriously the call to live in a way that glorifies God.
When we decided our mission last night was to catch a foul ball, she didn’t mess around. She sent the kids into other sections to maximize our chances. She gets things done.
I hope some of that fire rubs off on our children. That they see that their lives are made for something more than just “getting by”. That as they see Heather passionately live out her call, they discover and embrace the God-honoring mission they are to walk in. And have the courage to do it!
But THE BEST PART is the simple reality that in the midst of it all, Heather is trying to point our kids towards Jesus.
When we went to breakfast this morning, each one of the kids gave my wife a gift & card. Sammy said it best when he wrote….”you help me draw closer to God, which I have a hard time doing on my own.“
Can’t believe this woman agreed to marry me.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone!