A Tribute to All Mothers

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Try if you will to list all the positive virtues of the human experience and you might come up with things like love, compassion, gentleness, grace, support, protection, encouragement, guidance, et al. Or, you could simply sum up these virtues in one single word and title, Mother!

Each year about this time we are given an opportunity to shower our moms with love and praise for all they mean to us on a daily basis. For some it’s a time to remember those special ladies who are no longer in our presence but forever in our hearts. There is no task or duty so noble or revered as being a mother.  It is only fitting that they receive a day designated just for them.

Some still believe Hallmark created the modern Mother’s Day for commercial purposes, but in fact the practice goes back a bit further than Hallmark.  You can actually trace days honoring mothers all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome  who held festivals dedicated to the goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but more contemporary celebrations go back to Mothering Sunday, a European tradition when it was common to return to your mother church for a special service.  In 1914 the holiday made its way to the American soil and became an officially recognized holiday for all mothers.

Truth be told, whether a day, a year or a lifetime, there is no real way or designated period of time sufficient to adequately thank our mothers for all they do, all they are and the important role they play in our lives. From the very first time our newborn eyes are able to focus the first face we see, the first love we feel, the first life-giving nourishment we receive, is that of our mother, and that bond that was formed long before birth remains for most until it is severed by death, only to be rekindled as we share it and pass it on to our children and grandchildren.

The role of stay-at-home mothers has taken a beating in contemporary times.  Feminism ushered in an age where motherhood and being a housewife was viewed as an inferior position compared to having a career and competing with men in the workplace. Moms were made to feel lowly or like under achievers because they didn’t take the lead from their modern counterparts to climb the ladder of success.  In some ways that stigma still exists today.  It’s not uncommon to hear a mom say “oh, I’m just a stay-at-home mom”, almost apologetically as if it were anything less than noble. I feel bad for every mother who is made to feel like she’s wasting her time raising kids and not adding to the family income.  How dare anyone speak down to a full-time mother in any way that belittles her noble vocation or disregards the contributions to our lives that only she can make! Some have attempted to put a price on the domestic services she provides if hired out to professionals, but there is no known way to calculate the value of the lifetime love and care we receive from our mothers or the investment she makes in the success of her children.  It goes far beyond a paycheck!

I am here because of a stay-at-home mom. All of us are beneficiaries of motherly investments of time, love and a ton of energy.  The blessed among us can boast of more than one mother figure in our lives, whether mothers-in-law, church or spiritual moms or the moms of our best friends who adopted us whenever we were around.  Proverbs 31 says that a mother’s children rise up and call her blessed and for good reason, but in fact it’s the mother’s children who are truly blessed!

As a man who still has a loving earthly mother but who lost his last grandparent, my grandmother over twenty two years ago, I implore you to take full advantage of any opportunity to let your special moms know how much they mean to you.  Don’t send her a text-send them a card flowers or pick up the phone.  And if you are in close proximity, make every effort to visit with them while those moments still exist.

To mothers everywhere, Thank you-you are loved and cherished, not only on a day in May but for a lifetime!  God Bless you all for that which we can never repay!

 

my soul cries out

A Mother’s Love

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The bond is formed the instant she realizes something strangely wonderful is happening. Her hopes are confirmed with the news that she has conceived. She is about to experience the miraculous cycle of life-a new life created in love is developing inside her womb and the countdown begins to the day when she will first see his eyes. Already she is protective-already, there is no son like the one she’s about to bear. The blessed day of his introduction to the world arrives and he is placed upon her stomach for the first time. His appearance, his perfection, his cries instantly remove all residual pain that accompanied his entrance-she is in love with this wonder from God.

Through the early months the bond grows as this miracle receives from her breasts. Every day brings something new.  As she holds him she can see how he fixes his eyes on hers, how he studies her expressions and listens to her sounds of love, until that one special day, when all the cute baby gibberish yields to that first recognizable word-Mama! Her name formed in his tiny mouth brings with it a level of euphoria that only a mother can fully appreciate. He recognizes and accepts this unconditional love he is receiving from this lady and has given it a title-Mama. She feels a blessing words can’t adequately express.

Soon the dependence from limited mobility gives way to the first steps. She feels pride and yet another strange feeling-the birth of worry. Now she has to watch over him with more diligence and remove any obstacle that might bring him harm, a task that from that day forward will never end. She is now his protector-a guardian against anyone and anything that might cause her son harm, a task she undertakes ferociously.

He is now a young free spirit, active, fearless, experimenting.  The day comes when the father removes the training wheels from his first bike, expecting a fall or two, a possible abrasion and maybe even a little blood-a learning curve that must be met. She is not ready for this day and wants to follow closely to catch him when he falls and save him from the pain, but the father holds her back-it must be done if he is to learn. He falls, looks immediately to his mom but gets back on the bike and takes off. The bond grows some more.

They spend the days dancing in the kitchen, working in the garden, shopping for groceries, playing in the park. He is her constant companion and joy and fills her days with laughter. She hardly notices his unkempt clothing, the dirt he drags onto the floor, the mess he leaves at the kitchen table-she sees an angel at play and finds great reward in being a witness to his every move, grateful for this time that just the two of them will share, and not fully appreciating how quickly it will pass. The bond grows.

As much as she wants to turn back time, she can’t and the first day of school arrives, way too early. With all the hesitation of a mother bird pushing her chicks out of the nest, she releases him to the world for the first time and plans nothing for the first few days so she can be waiting and relieved when he exits the school building, another aspect of her experience that will never entirely go away. She watches as he becomes a social being, making new connections but still heavily dependent on his mother’s bond, something he too will never fully outgrow.

She is there to witness the effects of his growth, with full knowledge of what’s to come, but like the removal of the training wheels, forced to watch it happen and be there for the scrapes. She prays for him and awaits the inevitable-the first fight, the first colorful words he learns, the first time he notices a girl, the first kiss, the first boyhood crush and the first heartbreak. Each time she is there with healing and comfort and protection-the bond grows.

The years seem like months as he receives his high school diploma and prepares for college life, most likely far away from home and from his mom for the first time. Nothing has prepared her for this day-the motherhood manual didn’t address this scenario and her faithful prayers are put to the test beyond what she was anticipating. She has dealt with colds and baby teeth, cuts and bruises, dates and broken hearts-she has never faced separation! He has always been the little boy placed on her stomach at birth, close, safe, dependent. She doesn’t like this feeling-it’s uncomfortable, but again a necessary part of the cycle of life. For perhaps the first time she feels unneeded. The best of marriage doesn’t fill her need to mother. She prays for his safety and her comfort.

Finally, he is home again, and with news-he has found love. She experiences another strange sensation. Joyful for his return but faced with the reality that she will have to share her son with another who will fill all the needs that until this time she has met. Again, she has to release him. At the wedding she is the honored guest of the groom. She has learned to accept her new daughter into her life-she hopes as a mom she has taken advantage of every opportunity to prepare her son for adulthood. She takes a quick mental survey to see if she left anything out. With the words “I do” she feels a sense of pride and accomplishment.

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She is not ready for the overwhelming flood of emotions as she gets another chance to dance with her son, now a man. He has become the embodiment of everything good she has instilled in him from the first day their eyes met. He holds her with a sense of love, appreciation and gratitude that only a son can fully express to his mom. The bond has outlasted every strain that was put on it-it is strong and tangible. The song can’t last long enough-she doesn’t want this moment in time to end-it is her reward and she is relishing in it with every note and every step. This is a mother’s love for her son in full manifestation. The bond is secure.

Love completes its cycle as news come that she is soon going to be a grandmother. The day comes when her grandson is placed in her lap for the very first time. The bond is formed.