As I type this I am watching a smug and self-important young woman on a Sunday morning show give a monologue on The Pill. On this Mother’s Day, she is telling the nation how great it is that women no longer need to have children, including jokes about how much more impactful The Pill has been on the pro-choice movement than Roe v. Wade.
As a culture we really do try to celebrate motherhood, but are now unable to do so without simultaneously reminding everyone “but you don’t need to if you don’t want to! It’s just another life-style choice!” Somehow, this comes across to me as inauthentic. Yes, I suppose you could call it a life-style, but if anyone has ever had or even known a good mother, you know it isn’t like any other.
My mother was a child of 1970’s San Francisco. Everything about my mom should have made her a lifelong, picture-perfect feminist at a time and a place where it would have been very cool. She is razor sharp, beautiful, accomplished, and hard working. She could have been anything, but in 1984, she chose to just be with her new baby, me.
My Mom is now 52. She has raised three successful and happy daughters. She spent the majority of her life not only staying at home with us, but home-schooling us. We were always, ALWAYS, around. In a very tangible way, her life was about us. There really isn’t anything I can do to communicate what that means to me now. But I am going to try.
Because of my mom, I was born. From that moment on, because of my mom, I was cared for, intimately and thoroughly. Because of my mom I was given an education that most would envy. Because of my mom and dad I was taken to church every Sunday, a church that they thoughtfully chose and stayed faithful to for many years. Because of me and my sisters, my smart, attractive mom spent most of her time cooking, cleaning, and assuring us that reading, math, and writing skills were really of significant advantage to us, even if they weren’t as fun as playing with the cat. Because of my mom’s household hard work and economy, my dad’s time working away from the family was never wasted. Because of my mom, all three of us girls were able to go to college, not only because she prepared us well, but because she took a job at the university to help pay tuition. Most importantly, because of my mom, we were loved unceasingly and unquestionably.
There is much more I could say, but I think there might be only one more example needed, and in order to tell it, I will need to be more transparent than I usually like to be on the wide-open internet. In the last year, I have struggled with anxiety attacks. In the last few weeks, they have escalated to the point that I can’t sleep. I am getting the professional help I need, but nights are still hard. Last night was particularly bad. I was at my parent’s house and so very tired from a week of not sleeping. My mom stayed up with me for a while, but then she crawled into bed with me and talked with me about Jesus until I could fall asleep. So, after 26 years of life, and 8 years of living away from my parents, last night, the night before a day that is meant to be a celebration of motherhood, because of my mom, I could go to sleep.
I find myself wanting to make some caveats at the end of this post, assurance to woman who don’t have children or acknowledgement that dads are important too (and my dad really was right there with my mom through most of this stuff), but there are different times for that. For now, I want to talk about mothers, and my mother in particular. Yours is a vocation (yes, vocation) straight from Jesus himself. You spend your whole days caring for the little children that Christ cared for so much. Speaking right now as one of those children, we cannot thank you enough.