Mother’s Day is approaching again. As a mother of one with another on the way, I work 365 days out of the year to ‘earn’ this day. I do not take the day lightly but strive with each new dawn to live up to the expectations I have set for myself in the role of ‘mommy’. Do I fail sometimes? … Oh yeah! But I do not like myself in those moments and use them to work even harder. I’m too far from perfect to rest even a moment on the laurels of a ‘good mommy’ day.
There are many different ways to be a ‘good mommy’. More than one way of expressing human love exists. Quality time, physical touch, and words of affirmation are just some of the ways we humans show our love for one another. Each mother might strongly lean toward one expression or practice several naturally. The sweet result of her particular love language is a love unique unto her motherhood.
As on every Mother’s Day, I recollect the love my mother showed my five siblings and me. My mom set the bar high for us when it came to expectations of respect, hard work, and self-reliance. Sometimes, I forget how high she was likewise setting the bar for herself.
In speaking with her on the phone recently her words struck me with just that lesson. In passing, she mentioned calling her own mother to ask if she was a ‘bad mom’ for not always understanding the babbling of her toddlers. Today on the phone, I expressed that my daughter was having a rough day and had cried a lot. She reminded me of how she used to lower herself to our height and just hold us and that my daughter probably needed that today. Then, gleaning what my daughter wanted at that moment, she chided me laughingly for not just letting her take her nap in her ‘princess shoes’ like she had let me wear the pink high tops to bed which I loved wearing. Hearing that my mother had called her mom concerned about being a good mother and hearing her remind me of those precious moments in which she gave me what my tiny heart had wanted told me so much. The strong, capable mother I knew growing up, who expected much of her children, was simultaneously sensitive and deeply caring.
Am I suddenly having this revelation? No. It has, in fact, come to me on more than one occasion. When I was a child and more self-centered, I failed to realize that the six thoughtfully packed lunches awaiting us before school or the clean, painstakingly folded laundry were acts of profound love. When I reflect that my mom’s heart could love six children as much as my heart bursts with love for my daughter, I am in awe. When I remember the countless hours and careful pennies spent preparing for our Birthdays and Christmases or the sleepless nights spent rubbing my fevered forehead with her cool hands, my eyes cannot remain dry. When I see the affection in her eyes as she holds her grandchildren for the first time, the depth of her love is apparent.
All moms are different and we express our love in varying ways. That each of us loves deeply, however, cannot be disputed. I can never thank my mom for everything she did for me or repay her for the love she had for me. The closest I can come to repaying the debt of gratitude I owe to my mother is to love and care for my children as she much as she did for me.
~A Mother’s Prayer~
By: Emily Henson
I can kiss a finger when it’s hurt
and when they fall brush off the dirt.
I’ll gladly bend to tie a shoe
and mend each and every tear brand new.
But may God grant me the graces
to look into their upturned faces
on frenzied days when I’ve lost control
and take the time to nurture a soul.
The wash my hands will roughen and chap
but I’ll tuck them in every nap.
I’ll clean the floors on which they play
and shoo the dust bunnies far away.
But may God help me do my part
to see to the needs of their heart
even when chores remain undone
for dust can wait till tomorrow’s sun.
That song they love with the silly rhyme
I’ll sing for them a hundredth time.
Nails will be clean with daily bath.
Rules of writing learned along with math.
But God help me to remember
that more in their minds than lessons stir.
While I stay busy with my hands
they may fly off to Neverlands.
While a cleanly house is noteworthy
and tasks await before I’m free,
I’ll blink my eyes and they’ll be grown
but sweet moments I want to have known.