I post a new blog roughly every ten days, usually on a Sunday or Wednesday. When that day lands on my Mom’s birthday it makes perfect sense that the blog be titled, Mom.
I have made numerous references to my Dad in these blogs. No doubt I owe much to him. However, my Mom has been just as important to my character development and foundation. Mom was an equal partner with Dad in building our family. For a partnership like that to work and have the success it did, both parties need to be 100% partners, it is not a 50/50 scenario. Mom has always been all in, still is. She is this blog’s biggest fan! I am blessed to have the Mom I do.
The role a Mom plays in a person’s life is undeniably critical. A study by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis indicated that children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter, with a better ability to learn. Those who have known me from high school may find it amusing that this study showed school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, 10% larger.
Like with my Dad, the inspiration I receive from my Mom is usually done in hindsight. While growing up or in the moment, I saw it as ordinary – only to find later how extraordinary it truly was. I have a vivid memory of my Mom apologizing to me. She had let me know, rather noticeably, of her displeasure when I accidently broke a candy dish that was sitting on an end table. Mom admitted she over-reacted, not something a lot of Moms do with their 12-year-old sons. Especially considering she was only in her early 30s at that time, mature wisdom at a relatively young age. I get my ‘emotional openness’ – something I consider a strength – from my Mom.
A level of validation occurs when your friends or classmates acknowledge your parents. In my high school yearbook, a classmate included in their ‘signing’ a mention to the post football game parties that my parents hosted and that they loved my Mom’s meatballs. Mom was also the ‘go-to’ person during a high school baseball game as she diligently kept score of the game.
Mothers often inspire their children to see the big picture. Bill Gates on his wedding day received a card from his mother where she wrote, “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.” His mother died six months later, and Gates still cherishes the card. Kat Cole, president of Cinnabon, was working as a waitress when presented with the opportunity to move into management. She didn’t believe in herself and was afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Cole’s mother looked her in the eye, and said, “You can do anything, and I’m expecting you to do everything.” Cole made the move, and the rest is history.
I get my love of music from my Mom. Dad was talk radio with the occasional Leonard Bernstein and the London Symphony Orchestra album. Mom was top 40, and I remember playing her Lynne Anderson Rose Garden album.
Paul Simon rarely made any Biblical references in his songs. However, “Loves Me Like a Rock” is one of his more spiritual songs, written about his mother’s love – “my momma loves me.” Simon mentions his mother “rocks me like the rock of ages.” Throughout the Book of Psalms, the rock is used as a metaphor for God’s strength and dependability. Psalms 91:1 refers to Him as “the rock of our salvation.” Another great song of a mother talking to her child about life is “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This song still gets plenty of play, so listen intently to the lyrics and think of Mom.
Being a Mom is an inspiration itself. JK Rowling has claimed she is prouder of her years as a single mother than any other achievement. Lucille Ball wrote her pregnancy into the show “I Love Lucy” against the pressures from studio execs who found the move controversial for the times. Thanks to her persistence, it became the first depiction of a pregnancy on a major network show.
One of my favorite sources of quotes, Abraham Lincoln, said; “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Plus, Ralph Waldo Emerson nails it with: “Men are what their mothers made them.” In Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.”
A “mothering standard” is set in Proverbs 31. Though mothers are sources of wisdom throughout Proverbs, this is the ideal woman. She runs a household distinguished by abundant food and clothing for all. She is family centered, a good businesswoman, a great cook, generous, praiseworthy, and wise – offering sound counsel. She is all things to all people. Her children and husband praise her.
Spiritually, the definitive Mom is Mary, Mother of Jesus. Mary was more than the physical care giver In Jesus’ life. Her life gave witness to the glory of her Son. The ‘Mary moments’ in the New Testament point to Jesus’s ministry every time. Mary’s choice to be a Mom (Luke 1:38), the Canticle of Mary (Luke 1:46-55), Mary’s encounter with the 12-year-old Jesus in the temple (Luke 2:41-52), the miracle at Cana (John 2:1-11), her presence at the Crucifixion (John 19:25), with the disciples in the days before Pentecost and the days after the Ascension (Acts 1:13-15.) They all lead us back to Jesus, His mission and our salvation.
The first recorded miracle of Jesus was changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-5). When the wine ran short, Mary said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” Jesus replied, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Mary then turned to the servers and said, “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary ignores Jesus’s refusal and makes it impossible for Him to say no. Those are Mary’s last recorded words in the gospels. It starts His ministry and having set in motion the events leading to the Passion, Mary has no need to say anything else. Despite His protest, she knew better.
Moms want the best for their children. They want their children to become productive and successful members of society using their best gifts to make the world a better place. Mary was no exception. My Mom is no exception. It’s what she does.