Happy Mother’s Day!
I awoke early this morning and began chores that have been neglected too long. Nothing major. Nothing terribly exciting. Today, I’ll end the day with no feeling of triumph after having cleaned out that hall closet that I have to shove closed with my shoulder. I won’t get the garden planted again this weekend. I won’t sand and refinish the small back deck which has been needing work for years now, and I surely won’t get that mountain of socks sorted and folded never mind put away!
Nope, I got up at my usual time this Mother’s Day and began with the dishes left over from the day before. Dishes accomplished, I’ll move on to the rest of the kitchen with the knowledge that my boys will “surprise” me with breakfast and I’ll have to clean it all over again soon. Could I get the living room straightened, the bathroom wiped down, the stairs swept, the laundry folded before they woke up? Could I climb back in bed, pretend to have slept through, and have them not notice?
The funny thing is, if I work fast enough, I might actually succeed. My boys (some more than others) rarely notice the work I do, the dishes, the meals, the laundry. It wouldn’t occur to them to sweep the kitchen floor on their own or to refill the cat’s food and water or to wipe away the inches of dust gathering behind the tv.
They express frustration and sometimes moan and groan about having to do chores (again, some boys and some chores more than others and some days more than others) but they like them to be done. They ask for rides to soccer and basketball, baseball and the rec park. They want to go with their friends and to parties and school events and only occasionally wonder if I have some place I’d rather be.
I’ve sat up long nights, cleaning up vomit and worrying over a sick little one and have driven to doctors and dentists, orthodontists and orthopedists. I’ve put Band-Aids on skinned knees and held torn skin closed while rushing in to have it stitched back together. I’ve lamented unseen wounds and deeply buried hurts and have prayed to the Lord to heal for hurts I cannot mend and strengthen convictions worthy of strengthening.
And my kids thank me
once in a blue moon.
Motherhood is often a thankless job, and yet,
I’d trade not a second of it for the alternative.
I am fortunate. I have good kids who only drive me a bit crazy every other day or so! but even so, good kids, wonderful, outstanding, amazing, fantastic, incredible kids, are still kids, and kids by design need a lot of a Mother’s time, attention, and energy.
In today’s Sunday Mass readings, Jesus speaks of Love saying,
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
How much this applies to Motherhood! How much a Mother lays down her life for her child! How willing a Mother is to sacrifice and do what is best for her child! Just as the Lord sacrificed for us, so too are we called to sacrifice for those we Love, to those entrusted in our care, to those children belonging to God whom we have been Blessed to hold in our lives for such a short time!
When life gets overwhelming, as it sometimes will, when the “witching hour” strikes between pre-dinner homework and bedtime cuddles, when everyone is tired and cranky and in need attention and baths and permission slips signed and paperwork filled out and an endless supply of other demands threaten to weigh you down, remember why you do this. Remember what else Jesus said,
I no longer call you slaves,
because a slave does not know what his master is doing.
I have called you friends,
because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
Motherhood can be hard, but it is an amazing profession. We are Mother’s because it is part of the Father’s plan. Motherhood is a gift to us. We are not slaves to our children. Even less are we slaves to our housework or to our minivan’s chauffeur status. We are not slaves to our lives. We are blessed by them.
No matter the actions of our children or the opinions of those around us, we are given freedom, and we choose to be Mothers. We choose Hope over despair. We choose Light over darkness. We choose Love over dislike, and day in and day out, through good times and bad, in soft cuddles and tough love, and in rain and sun we choose to Love our children just as the Father has chosen to Love us for Jesus also said,
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you
and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.”
Mothers choose to Love, and the fruit that will remain is evident in the lives of our children, in their freedom to make their own choices, in their freedom to Love and serve, and in our freedom to choose to Love them no matter what just as the Lord chooses to sacrifice and to Love us no matter what.
Jesus is visible in Heaven, but the Love He commands of us is visible here on earth today in the bond between Mother and child, a bond like no other, a bond which cannot be broken, a bond which can always be strengthened when we ask the Father to strengthen it, for loving one another is what the Lord commands of us. There is no greater love than to lay one’s life down for a friend. There is no greater love than between a Mother and the Family the Lord has provided her.
Mothers, one day the work will be behind you and you will miss these times which go by too fast. Rejoice, even in the midst of daily struggles, for the friendship you will share with your children for a short time in this world and for a short time and for an eternity in the next.
Motherhood can be challenging, but we are not slaves to Motherhood. We are blessed by the gift of Motherhood. By laying down our lives, by putting our children ahead of all but the Lord, we are freed, freed to Love wholeheartedly and unconditionally:
almost as powerfully we are Loved by the Trinity.
Happy Mother’s Day
And to my own Mother, for all the times I was (and still can be) that ungrateful, self-centered, demanding, obnoxious kid, thank you. You are loved and appreciated! xoxo
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