Mother. Perhaps no other word speaks to as many people in any language or touches our heart. Yet, when we write about mothers, the words rarely do justice to the subject. We are rarely able to show our gratefulness to the women in our lives, the women who gave us life, or to those who give life to our children. Mother is a word that sparks deep self-reflection when you reflect about the amazing importance this woman has on your life, growth as a person, or significance to your children it is inconceivable. The hand of a bride becomes the hand of a mother, and the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
Before the man even discovers that he is going to be a father, the woman knows. A myriad of emotions runs through her brain, some of them at the same time. She may be anxious, afraid, confused or unprepared. And on the roller coaster ride of emotions, she will also be excited, happy, and joyful as they are about to embark on this life-changing journey. Having a baby is undeniably hard work. The best gift for a mother-to-be is continual support and assurance from those around her is that she can navigate this stage of life. She does not know it yet, but she was created for this role and she will be ready for the moment.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote about being set aside even before birth. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Mothers know and love us as we grow inside of them. They love us even before they meet us. It is a love that goes beyond explanation, it brings out the strongest emotions in the human soul. Her raw feelings will run deep and certain, she will expose her deepest emotions to protect her children. She knows the baby she holds in her arms will grow quickly. A mother’s love is the closest thing most children will experience to God’s love for us.
You never have to earn a mother’s love, nor could you buy it. It is freely given. And her love will last until her dying breath. Her prayers for her children are never-ending. She may stay in a challenging marriage for the security and well-being of her children or escape for their safety. She may be abused, verbally, physically or both. She will put the needs of her children above her own. She gave us life, never asking for anything in return.
Author Donna Ball wrote in At Home on Ladybug Farm: “Motherhood is a choice you make every day to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is, … and to forgive yourself over and over again for doing everything wrong.” For those who have lost their mother, whether recent or long ago, the day is particularly bittersweet. Rutgers Professor Deborah Carr reminds us the day is: “marked by fading memories, or musings about what ‘could have been…’ if our mothers were still alive today.”
Mother’s Day isn’t just an activity designed to sell holiday cards to reflect on a mother’s compassion and influence. If language is everything, we could not, even if we tried, honor the women that shapes and inspires our lives. No matter how much you thank the woman who does it all for her children, once a year is never enough. However, we must reflect on a mother’s sacrifice of tears, toil and time. We must also acknowledge the unique value, vision and virtue of women. So, to all the mothers, wives, daughters, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers, godmothers, friends, teachers, and all women that have everlasting love for children, we honor you this Mother’s Day.
JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. A Bradley County native, and former teacher, you can follow him on his blog at www.jcbowman.com