04 Apr WHAT IS A MOTHER?
“Mothers are patient souls. You Mother, in particular, must have been a blue ribbons patience winner when you were young. How else could she have raised such a one as you? Patience alone couldn’t have done it; it took many cubic miles of love and lucky for you (lucky for all of us) that a mother’s heart is as boundless as the universe itself. Anyone else would have scrubbed our ears, dressed us in our Sunday best, and sent us packing to the nearest orphan’s home after the first two or three years of trying to convert a small savage into a civilized boy or girl.
When we were little, Mother was everything to us – the police department, the board of education, the department of public works, the recreation commission, the finance department, the court of correction. She was a busy person. The only reason she wasn’t driven out of her mind is because she was a mother with the leadership of Moses, the courage of Daniel, and the patience of Job.
All mothers are beautiful when they are young – remember? Then as the years turn into decades, Mother meets another man besides Dad and this man is Old Father Time. Her fresh beauty changes after she and Old Father Time get to be good friends. There are little cut lines on her thumb made by the paring knife and the winter winds roughen her cheeks when she hangs out the clothes. She doesn’t carry the grocery bags so jauntily as when you were skipping along by her side. And her eyes, once dancing, are tired because they have seen so many, many things. Then one day, Mother looks in the mirror and says to herself, “I am no longer pretty,” and it is a sad and lonely day. Mother is seldom wrong, but she was wrong that time. The beauty of mothers is as indestructible as Faith, Hope, and Love because mothers are all these things and a very great deal more.
When the years roll on and the children scatter to the faraway places of the earth, mother’s job is done. Her little ones have become young men and women, for better or for worse, and there is nothing left that she possibly can do. Now she can sit back and relax and take things easy in the golden autumn of her life. But does she? No! Now she has grandchildren to visit, to plan for, to buy for, to make for, to sew for, to knit for, and if she lives long enough she becomes a great-grandmother. Only then can she stop and rest and spend the remainder of her days just being as beautiful as only great-grandmothers can be.
But whether she be 18 or 80, Mother is an irreplaceable treasure. None other will ever love you half so well or half so foolishly. None other will be so sure you are right, good and worthy. Of course, sometimes she is wrong, but God love her for it and keep her forever in His grace.”
By Alan Beck
Isn’t this how we all feel about our mothers? My mother was my whole world and now that I am a grandmother, I still think to myself, or say it out loud “ I need to ask mom about that” – or – “I’ll ask mom what she would do.” What a rare treasure a mother is.
A few years back, I read an article in REAL SIMPLE (magazine) about some women entitled “What makes me feel beautiful?” There were 3 women with their stories, but only one impressed me deeply. This author – Kathryn Harrison – stated that what made her feel beautiful was spending time with her kids. It showed a picture of her with one of her daughters, and I was stunned by how beautiful she looked. She states,
“The first time it happens, we’re out walking: my little boy holding my left hand, his older sister on my right, and the baby, six weeks old, asleep in her Snugli. We’re still at the stage when my taking a shower seems like an accomplishment. I haven’t lost all the weight I gained while pregnant; it’s been months since I had my hair highlighted to preserve the conceit that I remain as blond as I was at 16; I look like I’m getting as little sleep as I am, and I am wearing a nursing bra – a contraption that, inexplicably, department stores categorize as lingerie. In short: not a glamorous moment.
Still, I feel – for the first time in my life – really, truly, I don’t-need-anyone-to-tell-me-so, drop-dead beautiful. It has taken three children to deliver me to this state, this symmetry of boy on my left, girl on my right, and baby on my breast. Ridiculous, but as we navigate the sidewalk I feel radiant, as if I were wearing a dress encrusted with precious stones, reflecting the sun’s light. Wasn’t I supposed to feel this way on the day I married my children’s father? Photographs suggest I made an attractive bride, but I was so overwhelmed by the momentousness of the occasion that all I felt was scared, not at all sure I was equal to the promises I was about to make.
Most people would probably cite one of my other achievements before motherhood: I write; I teach; I’m a good wife, a generous friend. Each of these pursuits is gratifying. None of them make me feel beautiful. Before children, I used to move down the street like someone who hoped no one would recognize her. Now, walking by reflective shop windows, I don’t think to check how I look. I already know. From this moment on, I never feel more beautiful than when I am with my children. “ (Kathryn Harrison – REAL SIMPLE – August 2009 -p. 144)