Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mothers I'll Love Forever

All day, every day I am surrounded by humans of the female persuasion. I am allowed to float vicariously in an ocean of estrogen and on most days, at most times, I’m honored to be in the presence of all of these beautiful women, most of who happen to be mothers. I’m a mother lover and have the perfect perch from which to wax on eloquently about the most important mothers in my life.

My own Mom – Bettye Lou --Much to her chagrin my Mom, who loves Bill O’Reilly is the person who taught me to be a liberal. She gave me life, she taught me to empathize, through her own life she showed me how to accept differences, tolerate different ideas and if I have an emotional IQ at all, she is responsible. Sorry Mom but it’s all you.

My mother has fought macular degeneration for several years and over time her vision has become more and more limited, exceptionally difficult for someone who has always been so visually oriented. She still plays bridge, really well, every week, in spite of the macular degeneration. She has found a way. She still cooks, she still rules the house and the holidays, she still loves on her children and she has taken Marty into her heart as her own child.

My mother is the consummate mother figure and I know she has always loved me best. There’s never been a time in my life when I didn’t know my mother loved and supported me, and I know that wasn’t always easy.

My children’s Mother – Marty -- Perhaps the greatest compliment I ever heard anyone give Marty was when I heard my own mother say she would have liked to have known Marty when she was raising her children because Marty was such a good mom and would have provided insightful counsel.

I learned real passion from watching Marty with Matt and Erin. There have been many mothers who loved their children as much as Marty loves her, but none more. Marty practiced her love, exuded emotion, had remarkable confidence in parenting and always knew answers. Maybe they weren’t the right answers, maybe a question hadn’t been asked, but she always had an answer for her children.

Marty was the kind of mom who didn’t accept normal boundaries. She just didn’t recognize them. I know that part of her could be aggravating, but she was always available, always aware, always in love with her kids. There could never be any doubt about her love for her children, you could see it, and you could feel it, and if you watch her real close, if you know her well, you can still feel it when Matt and Erin are with her.

Noah’s mother -- Sarah – the daughter-in-law – Sarah is amazingly maternal, I didn’t see that coming. She is completely tuned in to my grandson. She knows what he is thinking, what he is feeling and how he is feeling intuitively.

In her, I see the same passion, the same undeniable love, the same dedication and skill that I see in Marty. She is so like Marty yet so different from Marty, I understand why Matt married her and wanted children with her. I have been so proud of how they have taken to being parents. They are going to have another child in October and I’m sure they will name this one Larry Joe.

Mystery babies mother – Erin – my daughter, a mother-in-waiting. When Erin told me she was pregnant I sat holding the phone in a kind of stunned silence. I thought about my daughter as a baby, I thought about my daughter as a young child, I thought about my daughter as a teen-ager. I have a hard time seeing my daughter as an adult; I don’t have a hard time seeing my child with a child. She has seen the best teachers in the world. Through my mother, through Marty, through Sarah, she has had wonderful maternal mentors.

If ever there was anyone capable of providing the care, the love, the kindness, the passion it takes to be a mother, it’s Erin. I’ve seen it her whole life. I saw it when she cared for her dolls and talked to them gently and sang quiet songs to them, I saw it when she begged to baby sit and parents wanted to book her early, and I saw it when she had to cut all of her mother’s bloody, matted hair from her head in the hospital. She cares for others, she is passionate about so many of the right things, and she is already a wonderful, worrying mother.

As a man surrounded by women so much of the time I could claim to be the supreme arbiter of great motherhood, but that would be stupid, even for me. The women in my life would never allow me that. What I can say, without reservation is, as a son, a husband and a father, I have seen what is good, I recognize how vital, how mandatory the women in our lives are to our well being.

I know there is a grace-filled God when I look at the mothers in my life. I wish it were so for all.

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