Reflections on Mother’s Day
I always found Mother’s Day to be the kind of over-the-top celebration to say thank you to moms with an undercurrent of uneasiness because of everybody who did not have a perfect mom. Well, I guess I should restate that: nobody has a perfect mom. Well, maybe I should restate that: nobody has a perfect mom from your perspective. At the time she was raising you and the instructions she was applying and the correction she was carrying out, you may have felt that the judge and jury in your home called mom was not always fair. She probably wasn’t, but she probably would have been fairer if she would have had perfect, fair kids which, by the way, she didn’t.
Mother’s Day brings to the front of so many people’s memories the disappointments that you struggled with as a mother or the disappointments that you struggled with that were called your children or the disappointments that you felt because you didn’t feel support from your mate who just happened to be their dad, and so Mother’s Day can be a day of reflection that is not always filled with joy. Then there are the parents, the moms, who struggle with grief and depression at Mother’s Day because of the loss of a child. It may be that they lost a child in an accident or after a long illness, or they may be living with the loss that continues as their child was taken over by some addiction. It’s a tough time. Still the fact is that moms are great people and without question are deserving of a special day to be honored, appreciated and even pampered.
Probably one of the saddest things about moms is that many of us will be in the fourth quarter of life before we begin to fully understand how much mom did for us. Somewhere later in life for men and women, the reality sets in that mom had great obstacles to overcome almost daily. Long overtime hours to put in and tedious nerve-wracking micromanaging that must be done so that we wouldn’t wreck our lives before they got started good. Sometimes we just excuse all those things, brush them aside, thinking that’s just what moms do. For when they do it makes a big difference in a child’s life and when they don’t it makes a catastrophic difference in a child’s life. Moms are essential and their work is profound and their investment is unending. I am fully aware that last Sunday was Mother’s Day and it appears as though this article is late. No, by design it comes before you the week after the one-day recognition to call attention to what needs to be done the other 364 days of the year.
Number One – Honor your mother. As you probably well know, this is one of the Ten Commandments and it is the first commandment that has attached to it a promise. Later the Apostle Paul would write in the New Testament and say “obey your parents” (Eph. 6:1) and that is certainly a part of the emphasis. But when the commandment was given, we are called on to honor our father and our mother and that involves more than just doing what they say, obeying them. Honor involves being obedient, but the more significant thing is to respect your mother and father. You see just being an obedient child is one thing. To pick up your clothes, maybe to do some chores, to be polite, but honor goes far, far beyond that. Just living under your mom and dad’s roof and obeying their rules is one thing, but honor extends to your mom and dad all your life even after they are gone. You have a genuine respect for who they were, what they stood for, what they tried to do for you and how God used them in your life even though they were not perfect and probably weren’t nearly as fine as you are. They deserve your respect.
Number Two – Stay in touch. Regardless of whether you live a thousand miles away from your mom or maybe just a thousand feet, stay in touch. Now, I’m not talking about every moment of every day, and I’m not even talking about endless hours of sitting and conversing. I know you’re busy. Your mom and dad know you’re busy. They are probably busy, too, and they have some sense of understanding of work and responsibilities with the family and maybe with church or civic organizations. They get it, but a call just to check on them and a quick follow up if you can do something is so deeply appreciated. Even if they’re gone, stay in touch. I don’t mean that you have to talk to them or try to contact somebody from beyond, but stay in touch with their memory and gently pass it along to your kids and grandkids. Now, if it is bothersome to you to try to keep in touch and you’ve just got so much on your plate you don’t want to have anything to do with the people who probably singularly had more to do with you getting to be where you are and who you are than anybody, that’s fine. Just don’t do it, but be aware that probably as the days go by they may drift away less and less in touch with life and then be gone and you will look back and struggle with being out of touch with a large part of your own heritage. Can you be in touch as much as they want you to be? Probably not. You don’t need to live under the guilt that parents will sometimes dump on their kids. You know when you make an effort to keep the connection and to care about them, you will be fine.
Number Three – Contribute. There will probably be a time and a way that you will need to do what you can to contribute to helping your mom or dad. Don’t just be a pushy know-it-all with your parents but gently try to help them along when their mental faculties are not as sharp as they used to be. Their decision making process is not adequate for what they are facing, and they may not be able to remember as they once did. You help them. Sometimes dollars help. In her latter years, my mom did not have adequate retirement income to take care of the needs in her life, so her five boys pitched in each month into the pool of resources to make sure that she was taken care of. She never knew how all that worked and from time to time she would say, “It is amazing how far this money goes to meet my needs.” She was right. There were also unseen, and to her unknown, caregivers and we were all blessed because of it.
So here, days away from Mother’s Day celebrations, take time to enjoy the blessing of the mom God gave you and beyond that honor your father and your mother.