May 7, 2010

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

This Mother’s Day, thank moms for all they do in our lives

Patti LambLast night, the kids were squabbling over stale jelly beans and, just before coming to blows, our 5-year-old son, Henry, screamed at the top of his lungs, “Margaret, you are not the boss!”

He quickly followed that sentence with another more emphatic one. “Mom is the boss!” he shouted.

I suppose the job of a mother looks pretty glamorous to young children. After all, mom is “the boss.” She makes and enforces the rules. She says “when” and “how much.” She controls the purse strings, the schedules and the dinner menu of the entire household.

But being a mom isn’t so glamorous after all.

Repeatedly, the work that moms do is so quickly undone. Meals are eaten and then forgotten. Laundry is clean, and then quickly soiled again. The floor is mopped, but a pile of cookie crumbs appears within 20 minutes.

And that is just the day-to-day stuff.

Consider all the other scenes behind which mom is the unseen force, like the school’s annual fundraiser and the Easter brunch she prepares—and hosts—for the extended family.

She whips up one amazing feat after another.

Take Christmas, for example. Mom scurries about for weeks shopping, wrapping, baking, trimming the tree and cleaning the house. She tends to every detail, not the least of which is to ensure that all gifts found under the tree on Christmas morning are equally distributed among siblings.

Her hard work and planning culminate in one fleeting morning, at the end of which everyone looks at her as if to say, “That was fun. What are we doing tomorrow?”

She is housekeeper, cook, chauffeur, chaperone, nurse, teacher, counselor, coach, referee and offensive coordinator. She always remembers the sunscreen, and never forgets to pack extra snacks.

She also serves as resident worrier and chief prayer warrior. Mom absorbs the victories, defeats and dreams of each of her children, and stores them quietly in her heart.

This Sunday, we celebrate Mother’s Day. It is unfortunate that this celebration lasts only one day. Moms deserve more.

Her meaningful contributions are easily overlooked, and her acts of kindness are forgotten in an instant. But anything she forgets is remembered for years—or forever.

We sometimes forget that she is human—that she is allowed to get sick, be grumpy or not be good at something. We expect perfection. We forget that mothers have their own bad habits, faults and idiosyncrasies. There is no course on parenting. They do the best they can with what they know at the time.

With motherhood’s high standards, poor monetary compensation, constant worry and the enormous amount of prayer time required, some people may wonder why anyone would want to become a mother.

I think it’s all a labor of love.

The mother is the ultimate servant. She is not unlike Christ in her efforts to serve.

Moms keep believing in and loving their children, even in times when the kids don’t seem worthy of that belief and love. Just like God.

A mother’s constant love is only a glimpse of God’s love and, in her vocation as a mother, she brings us a little closer to heaven. She works alongside God to gently sculpt souls, one unglamorous day at a time.

Sometimes it’s not until we grow older and become parents or caregivers ourselves that we more fully recognize the sacrifices of our mothers. I’m learning that love isn’t really love unless there is some sacrifice involved.

We ask for the intercession of the Blessed Mother for all mothers on this Mother’s Day weekend, and every day.

God bless moms!

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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