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Momisms

Sunday is Mothers Day—a time to honor mothers, grandmothers, step mothers, god mothers and especially those people in our lives who are not “official” mothers but who fill that role so beautifully. Mother’s Day is a modern celebration of all things related to our own mother, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in general.

While the businesses which benefit from the sale of cards, flowers, candy and gifts have commercialized Mother’s Day, the real purpose of this holiday is to show love and appreciation to our mothers by writing a personal letter, rather than buying token gifts or simply signing our names to pre-made cards.

Mother’s day is time to reflect on the gift God gave us when he gave us our mother. God blessed me when he gave me my mom. She taught me many good things that have served me well over the years. She always encouraged me to do something well if I was going to do it at all. She also taught me to think through what I was doing and plan ahead when I had a task to complete.

I remember one time when I was a pre-teen we were cleaning the house. She asked me to bring her the vacuum. We had an old fashioned canister vacuum and the way it was stored in the closet, all of the pieces and parts were separated. So, being the obedient child I was, I went to the closet, got out the canister part and brought it her. The she asked me to get the hose. By this time, I was doing the eye roll thing, but I went back to the closet and got the hose. Then she asked me to get the extension tubes. I did this with the eye rolling plus the deeply exasperated sigh only a wounded child can make. I went back to the closet and got the tubes. Then she asked for the floor brush. I complied by getting the floor brush, accompanied by much eye rolling, sighing, and a posture that indicated that I could not possibly be any more put out. My mom simply said thank you and told me a story.

She told me about a time at her office when two workers were asked for the same information. One worker brought a complete file folder into the manager’s office and was able to provide their manager with all the information he requested in one visit. The second worker brought a single piece of paper into the office had to go back to her desk multiple times to get the rest of the information the manager needed. The second worker acted as if the constant need to go back for more information was the manager’s fault, instead of their own ineptitude at getting things done the right way the first time. The story ended with my mom asking me “Which of those two people do you think the manager will trust and promote?”

I remember this scenario so clearly because she took what could have been a time to reprimand me and turned it into a teaching moment that has stuck in my mind and served me well over the years.

And like most moms, she had her favorite sayings, which I used on my son, who is now using them on his three boys. “If you are bored, I’ll give you something to do” was the response on those long lazy summer days when I said I was bored because it was too hot to do much of anything and there was no air conditioning in the house. When I was crying for no good reason, the response was always “I’ll give you something to cry about.” And when I whined about not being able to do everything my friends were doing, I got the standard momism, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you follow them?”

She hasn’t said those momisms in quite a while now and I am not even sure she would remember them. She does not know who I am when I call or visit. She spends her day sitting in her favorite chair “cutting coupons” (often without using either scissors or coupons.) While she does not have any specific physical illness, she is declining and it’s impossible to have a conversation with her. I pray for her daily and ask God that when her time comes, it will be peaceful and pain free. I also pray for my sister and her roommate who are caretakers for mom.

I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to thank my mom for all she did and taught me when she still had the ability to recognize me and understand what I was saying. I thank God for all the times I took a few minutes to send her a card, or write a letter or call to share a special memory or to tell her how much I appreciated and loved her.

I encourage each of you reading this to thank your mom in person and to thank God for giving her to you. Tell her how much she means to you and what influence she has had on your life. Pray that God will bless her and give her strength and good health to continue being his instrument of love in the world. And if your mom is no longer alive, pray for the repose of her soul and in thanksgiving for the gift she was to you.

“The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the love of a Mother.”
-St. Therese of Lisieux

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