on Mothers

“We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond to them.” ~ Abigail Adams (1744-1818), wife of 2nd U.S. President, John Adams, and mother to 6th US President John Quincy Adams.

This weekend we will be celebrating Mother’s Day, a time when we acknowledge all that mothers do to touch our lives and our hearts. Some of us have mothers by blood, others have mothers of the heart, and some are waiting to see their mothers again in heaven. I am at that age now where most of my friends are not only mothers, but mothers to that strange breed most of us know as teenagers. They are struggling to come to terms with the fact that their children no longer hang on every word they say, let alone fear them, and have left the cute snuggle time of childhood in the dust long ago. I can see the ache in their faces, hear the sorrow in their voices, as they know that soon they will have to release that which is most precious to them to the world, where things are not always safe, not always secure, and not always needful of the gentle wise words of Mom.

Although I don’t have children, I was once a child and a teenager myself, so I want to encourage all those Moms out there: this is not how it ends. Eventually when they get older, they will realize that Mom really was smarter than they thought, that she really wasn’t as annoying as she seemed, and that she really was the one that loved them unconditionally in her own way. Sometimes it is in the leaving of the nest that we kids finally see that life isn’t really as grand as we thought it would be, and that we are not so much smart as we are a smarty pants. For me, this revelation hit around twenty-six, after a few years of hard knocks and stubborn “I-can-do-it-myself-ness”.  It was when I finally got my life together, and saw the tearful relief on my Mom’s face that I knew – I knew that special combination of love and pain and pride and disappointment and hope and fear and patience and prayer that burst through all at once and revealed to me what it takes to be a mother. This revelation was followed closely by the not-so-comfortable feeling of being a selfish idiot.

But the great thing is that Mom never saw (or sees) me as selfish idiot. She was just so thankful that I made it through, so that she could stop worrying, at least for a moment (and no, they never actually stop worrying, they just get better at hiding it as we get older). She felt that I would be a much stronger woman for having learned something from my troubles. Remember, no matter how old we get, whenever our mothers look at us they still see that wee babe, helpless, and wholly dependent on her. She still aches when we do, and still beams with pride when we have success. It is the same whether we are four or forty.

As I mentioned earlier, not all of us have mothers by blood; some of us have mothers whose heart chose to pick up where another mother left off, some have women in our lives that fill the void where our own mother could not, or some have mothers waiting for us in heaven. Mother’s Day is meant to honor those women in our lives that fill that place in our heart no one else can, because they have been there when no one else was, and allowed our lives to often eclipse their own. Take time this Sunday to honor them with more than just your words; take action to lift them up in some way as they have lifted you.

Mom, I am able to do all I can today because of the love and support which you have given me throughout my life, despite the heartache I caused you in my rebellious youth. Thank you for believing in me and living the truth of First Corinthians 13:4-8, long before either one of us even knew what it was. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.

Your daughter…

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.” ~ 1 Cor 13:4-8

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