One of the most honored holidays is Mother’s Day. I used to love all the home-made cards and hand drawn pictures that my children would bring to me. As the years have flown by those sticky hugs and soft kisses gave way to a purchased card sent to honor me on that special day. It is a holiday that I have taken for granted far too long. It wasn’t until my own Mother passed from this earth that I realized just how special having a Mother to honor really is. So this is a post to honor all Mothers for all times.
Mom! No one really prepares one for becoming a Mother. As the hormones rage and the belly swells the body tells the mind that a child is coming soon. The first flutters of movement are always a thrill and often so unexpected. Then comes those magical months of feeling that precious life growing within your own body, something the Dad can’t really experience, only the Mom. The glow of a pregnant woman is beautiful. Thoughts flood through your mind of how you want to raise your child and so you begin to prepare a nursery with clothes and diapers and blankets as well as a crib and dresser and changing table. But the heart doesn’t really catch up to all of these changes in your life until that first glimpse of that precious gift and the first cry is heard from your child. Aww, that is where the loving really begins…and the sleepless nights!
Child! You have been longed for and anticipated for nine long months and the dreams I have for you are infinite. I know that you will be beautiful and smart and energetic and everything good. You are so tiny when they place you into my arms and I feel so proud and yet so scared all at the same time. When I change your first diaper I cry because I realize what a miracle you really are. I can’t remember a gift that brought such emotion to my soul. I promise to love you always, to cherish you always, to protect you from every possible harm that may come your way. I promise to teach you about God’s love and to lean upon Him when you are hurting. I promise to go with you on your first date at the ripe old age of 40! It will take me that long to get your Father to agree you are old enough to date! I promise to teach you everything that I know and to show you how to survive life on this big blue planet. And then comes the first time that I have to clip your finger nails and I cry harder than you do. Oh dear God, please give me the strength to be a good Mother!
The years roll by far too quickly and soon you are having your first day in kindergarten and I realize that you are no longer in need of me. I cry as you take a seat at the table in the school room and I walk to the parking lot where many other Mothers are shedding tears and we cry together, not saying a word but knowing how each one of us feels inside. That’s when I go home and call my own Mother and she talks me through your first day at school. I needed her then just as I needed her so many times before. She is so wise! I wonder how it is that she became so wise in the past ten years? Hmm!
Soon you, precious child of mine, are off to high school and your friends are so much more important than your old weird Mother! That’s alright with me, though, because by now I have taught you how to drive, how to cook, how to do laundry, and how to avoid trouble. I know that this season of your life is important to experience and so I let you go and fly with all the other social butterflies. By now we have learned to trust each other. I can trust you that you will make good decisions about speeding, driving, drinking, and drugs. You can trust me that I will not spy on you because by now I have a great network of others who will do the spying for me! It’s a Mother’s trick that you haven’t caught on to yet! Thank goodness!
Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6, (New American Standard Bible or NASB.)
Have I taught you everything that you will need to know? Have I shown you how to walk out the Christian walk daily? Do you know how to fix a split in your pants? Do you know how to cook more than a peanut butter sandwich? Do you know how to treat your friends? Do you know how to treat your teachers well? Do you know how to work hard no matter the pay? Are you ready to fly from my nest? Am I ready for you to fly from my nest? No, no, a thousand times NO! I am not ready, but unfortunately, you are and so you fly from home to make a life of your own. I cry at your graduation. I cry at your reception. I cry when you pack your bags and walk out of my door. And then my Mother enters with a few words of wisdom.
Mom clears her throat and begins to share with me, her adult daughter, of how she felt when I, the last of her chicks, found out that they could live without her mothering. As we sat and shared a cup of tea we shared memories from her perspective. For the first time in years I realized that I was not so different from my Mom. I didn’t see her tears when I left just as my child didn’t see my tears when they left. My Mother comforted me and encouraged me and told me that I was a good Mom and that I had done a good job and that now I could enjoy the fruits of my labor with my children. She told me that my life was not over and that soon there would be others joining our family, spouses, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. She reminded me that being a Grandparent is a joy minus the cranky moments. When grandchildren get fussy and cranky you send them back to their parents and let the parents do the soothing because that is their job now. I realized what a special Grandma my children had and in that moment I wanted to grow up and be a Grandma like her.
You see, before we become a Mother, we are a child. We grow up and then we think that we know more than our parents, but in the end we realize that we don’t know half as much as they know. And that is the precise moment that we know what real love and sacrifice really is. This Mother’s Day, if you are privileged enough to have a Mom still living and breathing then go see her and take her a card to say thanks Mom. If there are too many miles for you to travel, then call her and say thanks Mom! Thanks for not killing me when I was a child, thanks for giving me more of you when you needed less of me. Thanks for being there when I needed you.
And as I enter the Grandma period of my life I would hope that my children will realize that with advancing age comes less energy. With less energy comes frustration. With frustration comes weariness. With weariness comes a heart that needs her children to know she is alive and appreciated. With every decade from here on out I will be fading and I will have needs that I don’t necessarily want you to know about, loneliness, financial, social, and an encouraging word from you will be as important to me as my words have been to you in the past.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates, Proverbs 31:25-31, (NASB).
Your Mother isn’t perfect and she knows it. She also knows that you are not a perfect child either. I am sure that she has forgiven you much in your life as she watched you struggle and grow into adulthood. I have aspired to be a good Mother using Proverbs 31 as my guide. I have failed many times. But I love you for ever and ever. And Mom, I look forward to seeing you one day again when God calls me home to heaven. Like you, it is my strongest desire and wishes that all my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on and so on will be there for me to greet as well. Happy Mother’s Day!