I couldn’t let this week go by without a salute to my mother & to all mothers. This week is especially personal to me as I was born on Mother’s Day. One time I heard a psychologist say that mothers often “get a bad rap” from the mental health field. I couldn’t agree more as it is often a matter of perspective.
As I look at my relationship with my mother over the years, I see how much she has taught me about the importance of love & forgiveness, what the expression “for better or for worse” really means. My mother took care of my father for over ten years while he was ill with viral-cardio myopathy. Her love for him was always apparent to me in the way that she cared for him as he became more & more ill. She’d bring him his meals, she’d wipe his brow, she’d sit with him & hold his hand. She was with him till he took his last breath
She’s always been there for all of her eight children (yes I said eight!!!) when they’ve needed her. She also always been there for her grandchildren, her own parents, siblings, nieces & nephews, as well as for friends. I saw the depth of her loving demonstrated most recently when she went to stay with my aunt after the death of her daughter. I see it when she worries (sometimes unnessarily) about me or my siblings. It really is true that a mother never stops being a mother to her children. If anything the love for her children deepens over time.
What she has taught me about forgiveness is infinite. All children fight with their mothers & at times become very angry and frustrated with them. I’ve had many moments like that, I admit. We’ve all had them. But the forgiveness always comes in when the anger subsides. I see that the love for each other is still there underneath all the issues. That is what unconditional loving really is. It goes beyond all other emotions. There is a gentlessness & tenderness that lies at the core.
To me the essence of the love between a mother & child is the most perfect model of the love between God & each of us. There is no greater metaphor. It shows us how to find our way back home to the heart of God. Think about it. There is no closer connection than to the person who brought us into the world. Birth is the one experience that we all share—we would not be on the planet without our mothers giving birth to us. It gives us our common humanity. The relationship between a mother & child is an experience that is sometimes joyful & sometimes painful, but is always growing in it’s depth. It even continues on even after either one of them has passed on.
Today when I bought my Mother’s day card, I realized how lucky I am to have the mother that I have, to have had the chance to learn so much about love & compassion from being her child. I hope that many people will take Mother’ Day as a chance to reflect on what they have learned about unconditional love from their mothers & take the day to honor them.