Mother, how special you are
“What ever happened to my sweet little Tommy?” Those were the first words I ever remember my mother saying. It must have been about the time of the terrible two’s. Some would say not much has changed since then. All I remember from mother, though, was love, sweet love.
Thinking of her is like walking into another world. In regular time, there’s the news and the not-new. Politicians said stupid things about one another again today. Oh, well, that’s politics. Afghan security forces apparently opened fire on NATO in southern Afghanistan some days ago. That all seems to go on and on.
Then there’s mother. Not just my mother, but mother. In the midst of all the news and happenings going on all around, to picture her is to land on the moon and invent the wheel. The way she appears on the scene is a marvel. Attribute it to God, to nature, to serendipity, body hormones, DNA, CIA, or whatever. She shakes and rattles worlds.
“The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world,” said American poet, William Ross Wallace. He could have added that the other hand has been stirring the chicken soup all along.
We speak of faces that only a mother could love. If we’d ask mothers themselves what they thought of those faces, half of them would probably check behind the ears of those ugly ones, to see if they’d cleaned there and, if not, they’d better do it quick.
Mother isn’t perfect—at least that’s what they say. In my world, though, she’s as flawless as a sunny day in the mountains or a butterfly’s swift ascent to the sky.
Life has no meaning without love. We can’t love anyone, though, unless we were first loved. That’s where mom came in.
Once I took a long vacation alone with a woman I was not married to. We were as physically close as any two humans could be, and later I talked to the woman about our fling. “Mom,” I said, “what was it like those nine months I spent inside of you? Did you enjoy yourself?”
In one sense, it seems out of place to talk this way. You don’t make a big deal about air, even though we can’t live without it for a moment. Mom is like that, too. She’s built into life—just there. Until we stop to think about her, that is.
My own mother is gone. She took the fast train some years ago, but I still think of her. No one ever comes close to taking the place our moms enjoy in our hearts. Thomas Edison couldn’t have invented something so outstanding as motherhood. They can study brain chemistry and DNA, chart the social patterns and the algorithms that go into family and other relationships. And they can sort it all out and put all the parts into neat boxes and categories. Having mothers, though—not just our mothers, but mothers all—still blows the mind.
The weather is still being crazy, with wind and temperature all over the place. The yard will take a little work this week. A couple of trees and bushes aren’t getting enough water. That’s the normal world again. Mother is a world apart—though part of it, too.
We may only get to think this way once a year, when there’s Mother’s Day and apple pie, because life goes on. So I know we’re taking advantage of the occasion. But she’s worth it. She’s our mother. On behalf of countless mothers throughout the world, of their untold sacrifices, heart-breaks, hours waiting, silences endured, slights borne, takings for granted, tears shed, and the joy-filled devotion and love they showed, as someone once said, Mother, the ribbons of your love are woven around my heart.
Kozeny has worked as a teacher, counselor and in pastoral ministry. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.