Sunday, May 9, 2010

They Know and Still Love Us

Mothers, Moms, Madres, Mamas’ or Maws’ are the life givers. They carry you inside their bodies, willingly accepting the abuse to their own bodies. They give birth to you, they wash your face, brush your teeth, teach you how to tie your shoes, sit through really bad band concerts, bake in the sun cheering you as you sit on the bench at games, cry when you graduate and rejoice when you finally leave. They are Mothers and Mothers keep the world alive.

The story goes that the day after I was born the nurses at the small hospital in far west Texas where I was born sent the wrong baby to my Mother and sent me to the wrong Mother. My Mom knew something was up and pointed out the mistake to the nurses. Fortunately, the mistake was immediately corrected. The telling part of the story is that my Mother “just knew”, she “just knew” she had the wrong child in her arms that day.

That’s part of the charm, the mystery, the power of Mothers. They “just know”. It’s why as children and even adults we behave ourselves. Forget the whole moral center thing, it has to do with Mom knowing, it has to do with Mom’s having this special intuitive power of knowing if you are doing well, if you are doing right, if you are doing in a way they would approve and be proud. It’s just one of the things my Mother taught me and I saw repeated with Marty, Mother’s know.

As I grew up, before I went out into the world and after, the one thing I knew for sure, the one thing I always carried with me was that my Mother loved me. It was never in doubt. In spite of what I did or didn’t do, I knew my Mother would take me back, I knew my Mother would love me. It’s just one of the things I took for granted with her and I have seen repeated with Marty, Mother’s love unconditionally.

I know I was fortunate. I know not everyone had my family experience. I know I never had to worry about my Mother’s love; there has never been any doubt in my mind that my Mother loves me and always will. Even in the worst of my adolescent angst I knew at my core, my Mother would always love me. Even as I grew and struggled for maturity and independence, I knew I could always step back and find my Mother’s love. Even as I had my own children, my own job, my own life and the constancy of our contact waned, in the back of my mind, I knew, I felt, I was confident in my Mother’s love.

It’s what I hope Matt and Erin, our children know, feel and experience. Even as their Mother struggles on a day-to-day basis to live her life, even though her cognition is diminished, even though her energy is all directed to simply getting through the day, her love for them is something that is palpable, constant and very real. The strokes have not diminished her love and her passion for her children.

Mothers made us who we are, they gave us life when we had none, they gave us understanding when we were not worth understanding, and they gave us love when we were unlovable. It’s been amazing to grow and understand all of this of my own Mother; it has been inspiring to watch Marty as she passed these lessons to our children. It has been intensely rewarding to watch as Matt’s wife Sarah passes on the same unconditional love and acceptance for Noah, and I know, because of her Mother’s love, at the right time Erin will do the same.

Our Mothers, good and bad, are why we are all here today. We are forever intrinsically linked to them. I’m really glad my Mother and I have both lived long enough for me to grow enough to understand and say this to her.

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