Mother’s Day was celebrated this month. For those of us whose mothers have died, it’s a bittersweet day; a sad day missing our moms and a day to rejoice that we can be with our children and grandchildren. For me, it was my first having a great-grandddaughter, Noelle, born to my oldest grandson and his wife in December.
If this was your first Mother’s Day without your mother, my heart goes out to you. No one can take the place of a mother and the memories you share. I think of the mothers whose military sons and daughters died in combat; I pray God will bring divine comfort into their broken hearts and peace to all mothers who have lost children. Every Mother’s Day I think of my two infant sons who died without warning. In remembrance, my husband buys a bouquet of carnations, ten are the color red and two are white.
My mom was born in 1911. One sweet childhood memory I have is when I said my bedtime prayers. With my cat sprawled on my blanket, we knelt by my small bed. I must have been long-winded because I often had to wake mom up when I finished. Her response to any crisis was to pray, “God, we know you will help us.” Her Bible now belongs to me and I treasure its worn pages and appreciate the Christian faith she passed on to me.
Dennis Fisher wrote in the devotional booklet, Our Daily Bread, “As we face devastating experiences, we can define them either in terms of despair or of hope. Because God will not abandon us to our circumstances, we can confidently choose hope. His enduring Word (the Bible) assures us of His unfailing love.” This best describes the focus of my mother’s life.
Visit any hospital around the world and you’ll experience the miraculous love of mothers for their children in many different ways. When I was a nursing student in the 1960s at Buffalo Children’s Hospital, one morning my duty was to collect babies from their rooms and take them to an examination room for blood work. I couldn’t hide my shock when I first saw a toddler named David. With a misshapen head, abnormally wide-set eyes and huge mouth, he had the face of a small monster. Clothed in a hospital gown and diaper, his body seemed normal as he jumped up and down in his crib while holding on to the rail.
“Oh, hello!” A cheerful voice called behind me. His attractive mother came up, swung him out of the crib and kissed him on the cheek. “This is my sweet boy, David. Are you here to take him for some tests?” In an instant, for me, he went from being a monster with black curly hair to a baby with some problems the doctors hoped to fix, all due to his mother’s unconditional love for him.
His mother gave him two cookies, one for each hand, and handed him over to me. He whimpered and I cooed to him and snuggled his warm body in my arms. “Hi David, we’ll be back to mommy soon,” he smiled and clung to me like a small monkey.
After I gently laid David on the examination table, the white-coated interns and residents pushed me aside. He meekly submitted to their touches as they prodded, poked his face and pulled his head side to side. I imagined since he was born such exams were a part of his life and he accepted them as normal. The expressions on their faces mirrored my own initial shock when I first saw this toddler. In a cold, detached manner they analyzed his condition like he was a specimen in a Petri dish. Frightened, David’s eyes searched each face until he found mine. With my eyes, I poured all my love and acceptance towards him.
After the doctors were done I scooped David up and rushed him back to his beautiful mother. Because of her love and support I knew he would be okay. And the memory of the sacred bond between this mother and her deformed son was something I would treasure…forever.
Right now in the news, we’re hearing about the Zika Virus and the frightening effect it’s having on the babies of infected pregnant women. One TV journalist in Brazil interviewed a young mother cradling her daughter who was born with microcephaly, a lifelong birth defect. It can be caused by the Zika virus, where the baby is born with a small brain creating slow development and intellectual disabilities. The mother’s response to the sharp questions posed to her was, “I don’t care what’s wrong with her. I’ll always take the best care of my little girl as I can.” Her loving response, translated from Portuguese, brought tears to my eyes.
A mother has so many different roles: a child’s advocate, a spiritual advisor, first teacher, loving nurse, best friend, prayer partner, protector from bullies…and many others. I praise the Lord he gave me a daughter and son to mother after our loss of two boys. Now we have their children, a total of seven precious grandchildren. Every mother, with God’s help, can have a legacy that will have a positive influence on the next generation for years.