As I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you today, it dawned on me that it’s Mother’s Day here in the States. For me, it’s a day filled with happy and meaningful memories of a woman whose character I find myself appreciating more and more deeply with every passing yea. I genuinely hope that you can say the same, and that, if your Mom is still living, you’ll tell her so.
The thought occurred to me that in today’s climate of speech policing, this day set aside for honoring mothers will probably soon become “Parents’ Day” or “Carer’s Day” or some such thing. But that’s a topic for another time.
Right now, it’s still “Mother’s Day,” and I asked myself what the essential quality is that all mothers share. I had to think about it for a while, because mothers, being human after all, span the whole spectrum from “bad” to “good.” But I think I finally put my finger on it–at least if we set the truly pathological ones aside.
What Mothers Do
The one thing all mothers do, the one quality that behooves us to be grateful for them, is that they nurtured us. Even the most disadvantaged ones, the most disinterested, the most careless, did what was needed to keep us alive. Even if that meant, in some cases, giving us away. Here we are; they did what it took to make that happen.
For the ones who did the bare minimum, let’s use this day to offer them our forgiveness and compassion. They don’t know what they missed. And they did the best they could.
And for the ones who took the time and spent the energy not only to feed, clothe, and house us, but to nurture us with an abundance of love, let’s take the time to reflect that love back to them, whether they’re still with us or not.
Let’s think about what they nurtured in us—what they taught us to value and appreciate, how they instilled manners in us and showed us ways to successfully negotiate in the world, how they passed on traditions so we would feel linked to the past, how they said that the only thing they wanted was for us to be happy in our lives and how they did all they knew to do to make that possible. Let’s think about the pride they took in our achievements, and their unqualified forgiveness when we fell short of the mark, about the way they comforted our hurts and celebrated with us our moments of joy, about how they instilled in us the meaning of the word “home.”
Let’s think about the sacrifices they made for us, the events they attended they didn’t want to attend, the things they did without in order to serve our wishes and needs, the fulfillment of some of their own dreams so that some of ours had a chance to come true.
That’s an awful lot for one human being to be able to do for another. And the wonder of it is that most moms–and stepmoms, and foster and adoptive moms–consider it a privilege and wouldn’t trade their roles for anything in the world.
It kind of gives you hope for the world, doesn’t it?
Wishing you a day of happy and grateful reflection about the special nurturers who mothered you.