GENDUSA COLUMN: Through a mother’s heart

Published 12:13 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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Many of us work a myriad of jobs throughout our lives. We build careers, climb up and down ladders, and hopefully accomplish our goals. If we are fortunate enough to reach retirement age, we reflect upon our lives and understand what is most important. And it wasn’t our paying jobs. 

Oh, there is nothing quite as insightful as hindsight!! 

Most people work to provide for their families, including me. I toiled many hours daily to put food on the table for my three children. Being a single mother for many years, I often wonder how I made it through those years. Each morning I woke at 5:30 to prepare breakfast and lunches before traveling miles to my job. Once I returned home, there was dinner to prep, chores to be addressed, homework, play, and comforting little souls. Just before midnight, I finally rested, only to begin again the next day. 

How many mothers do the same routine until their little ones welcome adulthood? The funny thing is that even though we are exhausted, most mothers weep when the last child leaves home. 

Today, one of my three will send her only child to college in August, and I will be there to comfort her when she bids farewell. I, however, will not explain that because she is a mother, she will always miss her daughter.  

She will learn, as I did, about those moments we wish we could take back. Those times when we were too busy to listen, too tired and cranky to cope with a child’s problem. Those hours when Motherhood seemed impossible and lonely. Days when our personal quest rose above the needs of our children or the million minutes we failed. I doubt a mom anywhere doesn’t carry a dose of guilt in her purse. 

However, remember, Motherhood is not what we miss or mess up doing; it is about how much love is shown in what we do.

My Grandmother stood in her bedroom staring at a picture of her oldest child, Donald. She didn’t notice me when I entered the room and saw tears in her eyes. 

“Are you okay?” I questioned.

She replied without taking her eyes away from Donald’s photograph.

“It is so difficult to outlive your children. Even though years have passed, I grieve each day and know I should have done a better job.” 

“What?! You are a fantastic mother!  How could you be any better when you are the best.” I said, trying to comfort her.

“I shouldn’t have argued so much over our Scrabble contests.” She solemnly answered.

I would have laughed, but I knew she was dead serious. 

She couldn’t take those feisty moments back, and as benign as they were, she believed she had failed.  

Even if a mother is near perfection, we always feel we could have done better, and that’s only one emotional characteristic of Motherhood.

It is not a job for the faint of heart or those afraid of loss, and it is not to be done well without God’s strength and our faith. It pays nothing but supplies gifts money can never buy.  The worry never ceases, the love never wanes, and prayers for our children never end. 

Motherhood is a lifetime commitment without retirement options. It is the most essential job in the world that reaps happiness, heartache, regret and rewards.  

Amy, my oldest, was in her dorm during her first year at Clemson University, studying with a large group of girls for midterms. In the wee hours of the morning, one of the girls shouted, “Sure wish I had a pizza!” 

Another replied, “Sure wish I had a hamburger!” 

Amy yelled, “Sure wish I had Mom’s breakfast!” 

“What!? Your Mom cooked breakfast?!” They all asked, stunned. 

“Every morning before she left for work, she prepared our breakfast,” Amy responded, thinking it odd they thought it was unusual.

She told me later that it wasn’t until then that she appreciated my alarm ringing in the early morning hours every weekday for 18 years. 

My mother made most of my clothes throughout my young life. But it wasn’t until I began to sew that I comprehended how much effort and talent she put into every dress. Each had a creative ornament or a different patterned collar or pocket to make them extra special. 

A mother’s love is not expressed only in words; it is found in the early morning when bacon is frying, in a hand-sewn dress, or in the sorrow over a contentious Scrabble match. 

It is located in hard work without pay, love without limits, and tears when we wave goodbye.  The power of God’s love shines through a mother’s heart and lights our souls forever.