Sunday, May 9, 2010

What Mothers Do

In honor of Mother's Day, I wanted to share a few thoughts on mothers I have had/heard in recent weeks:

I have been working my way through Beth Moore's Bible Study, "Esther", for over a year now. Thankfully, after months of trying to do it solo, I have joined a "group" and the accountability has spurred me on toward completion.

In the first week Beth focused a portion her teaching on Esther as an orphan. A child without a mother. And this precipitated a story about Beth's daughter and grandson that I have not been able to stop thinking about. I wish you could just hear it straight from her, because no one can tell a story like Beth. But I will do my best to summarize:

Amanda, Beth's daughter, told her a story about Jackson, who is 19 months old. He had learned to sit and eat goldfish in his chair and he was happily doing it in the next room, while chattering to himself. It got very quiet, and as any mother would do, Amanda peeked in to check on him.

There was Jackson, feeding goldfish to their Golden Retriever, sticking his fist practically down his throat in the process. Once he had given a goldfish to the dog, he would eat one. This continued back and forth and Jackson was so proud of himself for sharing with his "buddy". When he saw his mother walk in to the room, he grinned from ear to ear, held up a goldfish, and said, "Mama!"

At that point, Amanda had a decision to make, eat the goldfish covered with dog slobber and make her little boy's day or reject it and break his heart. And so . . . she ate it.

Beth finished up by asking, "Who else is going to do that but your mother!?!"
And I thought, THAT is what Moms do . . . they tolerate slobber, spit up, sweat, tears and worse. They go without to give to their children. They love and they love without expecting anything in return.

Another thought came to me on a camp out a few weeks ago at about 4:30 a.m.:

I had the privilege of going with M3 on her first Girl Scout camp out and honestly I was as excited as she was. There were 6 moms and 11 girls staying in 5 tents. M3 had surprised me by telling the leader she wanted to stay in a tent with 3 other girls (no moms) because I had assumed she would want to stay with me.

Now, being that I AM her mother and all, I do know her pretty well. So, in the back of my mind, I was prepared that she might end up sleeping with me over the course of the night.

When we all "turned in" we were keeping watch on my smart phone (despite the fact we had no running water and cooked all our meals over a fire, we did manage to have cellular access) at the giant storm that was headed our direction. It was due to hit some time in the middle of the night, and we were prepared for the worst.

I felt a sense of responsibility, being that I had access to the radar map, to keep checking on it through the night. And about every 15 minutes my sense of responsibility would wake me up to update the map. Amazingly, the storm dissipated and all we got was a lovely cool front and some light rain out of the whole thing.

But about the time the rain stopped, I felt a hand on my leg, and heard a familiar, "Mom?" There, in my tent was my sweet M3.

At first I was angry, because she is not supposed to be out by herself. But before I could react, she explained that she needed some insect repellent for her and her "buddy" who was standing outside the tent waiting for her.

My anger gave way to admiration, because I recognized that it took a great deal of courage to come across the campground and find me in the middle of the night, even with a buddy.

And then she finally broke down and said she wanted to go home. The wind was loud and she couldn't sleep (and I could tell she was scared).

I am sure she was thinking, "Mom's tent is full, there is no where for me to sleep in there. I will never make it through the night without her."

God had already prepared me for this moment, because I simply said, "Would you like to sleep in my cot with me?"

That was all she needed to hear.

We went back, got her blankets and the two of us settled down in my little cot for the rest of the night.

She held my hand to her chest and I could feel her heart still pounding from fear.

In just a few minutes, though, it slowed and I realized she was asleep.

In a matter of minutes she went from tears to peaceful slumber, safe in her mother's arms.

And again I thought, "That's what moms do."

That's what ONLY moms can do.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to do what only moms can do.

Thank you, my Mother-in-law, friends, and family, for being encouragers and examples.

Happy Mother's Day!