In Praise of Mothers
The three mothers I have known best in my life—my mother, my mother-in-law, and my wife—have all been remarkable women in their own right. Between the three of them they have birthed and raised a total of eight children. Many of who now have children of their own. It has been a privilege for me to witness these three women, all of whom were fierce guardians of their families.
My own mother wasn’t blessed with longevity. She died when I was sixteen. She never met any of her grandchildren, not to mention the great grandchildren, who began to arrive three years ago.
The year after my mom died, when I was a junior in high school, I was asked to takeover as editor of the school’s magazine. That honor was just one of several wonderful things that happened to me in those first two years after she left, and they were all sought of hollow because I no longer had a mom to share them with.
My mother-in-law passed away just six weeks ago. She did have a longer life and adored her children and grandchildren. In the last weeks of her life, when one of the grandchildren called to say hello, she would put her pain aside and quickly picked up the phone. As exhausting as her relentless battle with leukemia had become, if you looked at her when she was talking to one of those grandchildren you would see that for a few fleeting moments all the pain vanished. All that mattered was the love she had for all her children. That is more powerful than any disease when a mother’s instinct turns on.
To say goodbye to my mother-in-law, who for more than 25 years was like a second mom to me, we’re gathering at her home in Atlanta on Mother’s Day. I can’t imagine a more appropriate day to honor her memory.
My wife and I have raised a son and daughter who today are young adults. Their mother adores both of them in that special way that only a mother can love her own children.
As a younger man, I thought of Mother’s Day as strictly a Hallmark holiday. With a little age and a little wisdom, now I think that we should have Mother’s Day twice a year. They do enough for us to do deserve more than just one day of praise.
I know that there are many sad stories of moms who let their kids down, but those truly are the exception. The vast majority of mothers are fierce defenders of their children. No doubt at times going more than just a bit overboard. That is one ferocious advocate in your corner who is tough to lose.
Often the love between a mom and her children is like gravity, unseen and all encompassing. That must be why moms are so greatly missed when they leave us.
They anchored us to our past. We lose a sense of equilibrium when they go.
This Mother’s Day, if you’re lucky enough to still have your mom in your life, take a moment to say thank you and tell her how much you love her. In truth, that’s the gift every mom wants most.
SMW Money Editor
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