Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dedicated to mothers everywhere

It's Mother's Day morning, dreary outside, and raining. I'm sitting in my office chair, enjoying some quiet time, having a cup of coffee, and browsing the Internet. Ron's asleep, which means Maisey is keeping watch at his feet. Amy and Isaiah are not here so the house is really quiet.

As I am sitting here, I'm reflecting on my life as a "mother" and how it has affected who and what I am today. Someone sent me the joke about how after having a baby, a woman's body returns to normal after about six weeks. It goes on to say that the writer must not have been a mother because nothing returns to normal after the birth of a baby.

That is so true. As mothers, we never cease to worry about our children - their safety, their happiness, or their health. If there's a shortage of supplies in the house (mainly food), we make sure our children partake before we do. If there's TV in the house, we try to make sure what they're watching is wholesome and entertaining (we've become big fans of Noggin). We defer to their watching tastes instead of our own. We learn to cut sandwiches into triangles, squares, or even make happy faces out of them. We trim the crusts off bread, learn to hide vegetables in other dishes, and participate in make-believe tea parties. We let them experiment on us and fix our hair, paint our nails, or do our makeup (just don't go to the door before you do a mirror check).

We mend broken hearts, broken toys, and broken bodies - scraped knees, splinters, bruises, and other boo-boos. We pray that these are the most serious injuries they ever have to face. We walk countless miles, patting countless backs, soothing countless fears. We dream of happy days and fulfilling lives for our children. We comment and exclaim over the children of others - sometimes good and sometimes not.
We cry countless tears over the years - some in happiness and some in sorrow. We hide our fears and our emotions so our children never see until they're old enough to understand. We want them to stay young and innocent forever. We're happy and sad when they start kindergarten and have the same emotions (on a different scale) when they graduate from high school and move on to college.

If our children join the military, we waffle between pride and fear. Will our precious child come home, happy and safe? Or, will we only see our child again in our memories, in pictures, and when God calls us all? We pray daily for their safety, and know that sometimes in order for our own child to be safe, someone else’s child may not.

Thinking about my life as a mother, I realize that "I" am also the child of a mother. I'm sure she had some version of the same tears, fears, and happiness. Although times have changed and we have more gadgets than our mothers had, the emotions of mothers don't vary too much from generation to generation. Growing up, I'm sure I took advantage of my mom and didn't show her the respect she deserved. I was never a bad kid or really "disrespectful" as that was not tolerated. But, did I honor her every request, obey with a happy face, or recognize her sacrifices for her family? Probably not - definitely not in some instances.

If you're fortunate to have your mother still in this life, be sure to let her know how much you appreciate her and the life she provided to you. Show her that she’s important in your life and the lives of your family (especially if you’re married and she’s now the grandma). Don’t just wait for Mother’s Day to give her a call, drop her a line, or send her a card. Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to honor all mothers, but motherhood should be honored every day of the year. Without mothers, this world would cease to be. Take the time to thank your mother for the sacrifices she endured, the gifts that she gave, the integrity and morals she instilled, and the life that she led so that you could have the best she could provide.

If your mother has passed from this life, go ahead and shed a tear - and then find another mother whose children may not come around as often as they should and be a surrogate child for her. Give her a call, a hug, or a kiss and tell her Thank You for being a mom. It may be only a small thing to you but could be a really big thing to her.

Because, if you’re a mother, you know that sometimes mothering is a thankless job – it’s messy, it sometimes stinks (quite literally), and it’s a full-time job, even if you have another outside full-time job. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.

Thank you, for taking on the challenge and passing with flying colors!

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