...it has become more and more apparent to me as the years have gone by that there is a love so special and rare that only some of us are privileged to be be its custodians. Mother love.
Do you remember the moment? If you are a mom, of course you do. Whether you gave birth to your child, adopted your child, or became a step mother to a child whose mother is still living you remember the moment that you realized that you are totally responsible for the care and nurture of a young, inexperienced and vulnerable human being. There is no other burden so great or joy so complete as to be called to the role of being a mother.
Most of my friends are parents. Each of the experiences that we share with one another about being parented or being a parent are, obviously, unique but there are a lot of common threads. For one thing, we are all hoping against hope that we made or are making good decisions as parents. Even when we make poor decisions, and we know we do, we want it to be clear that we meant well.
Most of us are trying to be great parents because nothing matters more. When we become a parents, we are changed to the core of beings. We are no longer the most important thing in our own lives and we look at the world through a brand new lens.
When I became a mother, I became a whole new person. I bet you did too. And beyond that, by the time I had been a mother for several years I had begun to see everyone in the world as a child in need of a kind word, an encouraging smile, or just a bit of nurturing. And, truthfully, we are.
Everyone you see is experiencing some kind of hurt and they need the kind of affection that comes from the heart of a mother. Mothers are perfectly placed in the world to offer the selfless kind of care that most mothers do instinctively. I have had several experiences that showed me that there are many people who long for that kind of nurture. One really stands out in my mind.
About eighteen years ago my son was a young airman serving in the USAF and living on base in a dormitory. He was still single and living 800 miles away. I went to visit him there after he had some oral surgery done. While he was resting, I went in to the kitchen on his floor and began to warm up some canned tomato soup for him. I was standing at the stove stirring the soup in the pan, humming to myself, when I realized that someone was standing in the doorway.
In the door was a very young man in an Air Force work uniform looking as startled to see me as I was to see him. We looked at each other for a moment, then I smiled at him and said, "Hi!". He hesitated as if he wasn't really sure what to say. "Are you a mom?", he asked. I looked at his face. He seemed so surprised to see a mom in that place that he might as well have asked me if I was an alien. "Yes." I responded. "Do you need a mom?"
I wondered how long it had been since he had seen his own mom. How long had it been since he had been offered something hot to eat that was made for him and not for a cafeteria line. "Come have some soup." I urged. He thought about it for a moment then declined politely. As he walked down the hall I heard him say to a friend, "There's a mom in the kitchen!" I felt a little like an unusual specimen in the zoo. I took my son his soup, feeling so grateful that I was there.
I've had a lot of encounters with people who needed the help and comfort that could only be given by a mother; usually just encouragement. But it has become more and more apparent to me as the years have gone by that there is a love that is so special and rare that only some of us are privileged to be be its custodians. Mother love. It is very interesting to notice that sometimes the love of any mother will do if the real mother isn't available. Mothers just seem to have the knack of kissing the boo boos, giving affirmation or correction, and we all need that no matter our age.
Some women enjoy motherhood more than others, and for some it is very challenging. But there is one thing that doesn't seem to be diminished even in mothers that find the task more demanding: love. Mothers who feel impatient, overwhelmed or burdened by raising children still love them deeply. Maybe they need some affirmation or encouragement. Even moms need a mom. After all, we all really are children in need of nurture and love and affection. All of us.
What if we all decided to be moms for one another? Suppose we put band aids on each others' boo boos and brought each other juice and cookies? Maybe we could hug each other and let each other cry and laugh at each others' jokes. Could it be that making a kinder and more peaceful world is as simple as just being the mom for everyone that we are for our children?
Perhaps we could look at one another and see children in need of care and then we just let mothering take over. It doesn't take much to give one another the comfort needed to get though each day. So when you see someone standing on the outside looking in and you know that they want to ask, "Are you a mom?" Just answer yes and ask, "Do you need a mom?"