Thanks, Mom

Mother’s Day is a travesty.  Like setting aside one single solitary day to memorialize our fallen soldiers who give their short lives for our lifelong freedom, we’ve set aside one single solitary day to celebrate our mothers who give the incalculable gift of their life and love to their children.

Not that any mother will ever notice.  It’s not in them to number their sacrifices, count their costs, or scan the horizon for rewards.

Yet how can you begin to fathom the value of a mother?  Multiplying adjectives might get you a few feet below the surface, but words alone just aren’t weighty enough to sound the depth.  Maybe a better way is to ask yourself a question about mothers:

Would you trade yours?

Would you trade your mother’s love for anyone, or anything, anywhere?  There’s a reason why you haven’t heard that question before.  No one would ever think to ask it.  And there’s a word for things we won’t ever consider bartering: priceless.

I’m twenty questions into a catechism with Judah.  We work on it together each night.  Somewhere in the late teens, it asks the question, “How did God create man?”  The answer goes, “God created man, male and female, in His own image.”  Women are specially made to image the Creator.

Once you have your own family and live more than a quarter-century, you begin to realize all the things your mother did and does.  Mothers are simultaneously teachers, tutors, inventors, cooks, chauffeurs, businesswomen, educators, landscapers, prayer warriors, interior decorators, mechanics, managers, peacemakers, judges, sages, counselors, disciplinarians, event planners, inventory keepers, and most importantly — mothers.

A mother intimidates her children without using fear, woos them without manipulation, calms them without fairy tales, disciplines them without anger, encourages them without flattery, and loves them without a hint of pretense.

Like mama bears, a mother’s paws are soft enough to pat you on the head and hold you in her arms, all the while hiding claws that can shred anyone who might threaten her babies.

She bears her children with her body in pregnancy and birth, bears them with her hands through life, and bears them on her heart in death.

Which is why, at the end of it all, Mother’s Day isn’t really a travesty.  Mother’s Day exists to counterbalance the real travesty: the forgetfulness and ingratitude of all who’ve had the priceless privilege of calling someone “Mama.”  Mother’s Day is simply a well-deserved echo of the human incapacity to thank our mothers.

So in case I forget, unforgivably, on some of the other days of the year, may this day ever remind me:  Thanks, Mom.

Mom & Grandma: Naomi Gundersen & Eva Ishuin


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