I’d like to introduce you to my Mother. Her name is Wilma Jean but everyone calls her Jeanne, except for four very fortunate people who get to call her Mom. In a lot of ways, I imagine, she is very much like other Moms. She makes all her children feel equally loved, even though I know I’m her favorite. She taught us everything we needed to know to be good citizens: don’t hit, don’t spit, don’t bite, don’t pull hair, don’t be disrespectful, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want done to you. She taught us a lot of ‘don’ts.’ Not because she wanted to but because it was necessary in order for us to survive and thrive. That’s what Moms do.
She taught us a lot of other things as well. Some she taught directly and some we learned by watching her. From her we learned what was right, what was good, what was true. We learned loyalty and patience and sympathy. We felt unconditional love, unquestioning devotion and unflagging support. She picked us up when we fell; she propped us up when we stumbled; and she tethered us to the ground when we tried to fly too high. In her we witnessed dignity and strength and beauty. She taught us the power of faith and the possibility of hope. She gave, and continues to give, of herself without reservation or condition or expectation. That’s what Moms do.
I wondered what could I give to her that would express my gratitude for all that she’s done? What gift could tell her how thankful I am to be her son? Does such a gift exist? Is there a jewel so pure and so bright as to be worthy of her? How would one gift-wrap a rainbow? How do you say thank you for a lifetime of love, support, education, understanding, and encouragement?
And then I looked at her picture on the shelf in my office and I heard her say, “No need. That’s what Moms do.”
Happy Mother’s Day.