The legacy of Mother's Day in the United States tells us that it originally began as a means to help heal the scars of the bloody Civil War, to bring peace to a torn people. How fitting because who brings healing and peace better than a mother? Eventually Mother's Day in the US grew to become a means of honoring mothers for their lives and for the impact they have on their children and the legacy they leave with the world. Sadly, history also relates that one of the women who had spent much of her life advocating for official recognition of Mother's Day was ultimately furious at how commercialized the day had become in a relatively short period of time. We're told this lady actually lamented that she ever achieved her goal of a national observance of Mother's Day.
However, the commercial hype should in no way deter us from giving special recognition and honor to our mothers this coming Sunday. Mothers are deserving of at least one day a year set aside for their husbands, their children and their children's children and any others whom they have mothered to shower them with unusual love, affection, and devotion.
One of the ironies of Mother's Day is that too often the full impact of the day eludes us until we face a Mother's Day without our mother. During the humdrum routine of our growing up and then moving into our own lives, the years roll by and Mother's Days come and go with acknowledgment, but all too often not with the understanding and the expressions of our heart that our mothers deserve.
For some of us who have already lost our mothers, we yearn for just one more Mother's Day with our moms and one more opportunity to lavish love on the one who sacrificially devoted herself to loving and nurturing her sons and daughters, who did her part in ensuring the success of the next generation.
My mother has been with the Lord now over twenty years, but every Mother’s Day, memories of Mom are nearer the surface than usual. I am transported to fun-filled summer days playing with Mom, shopping trips for new Easter outfits, “Julaine--go clean your room,” moments, family dinners, bright eyes dancing as Mom prepared for Christmas, loving arms wrapped tightly around me as I encountered the wounds of growing up and the realities of life, and open arms, always open arms, when I came home, and tears, always tears, when I had to leave.
Those mother-daughter memories remind me that the relationship between a mother and daughter is different from that between a mother and her son. I never felt disparity, but I always knew difference—a right and appropriate one, just as my relationship with my father was different from my brother's relationship with him. For sons, mothers are soft and softening, protection and needing protecting. They are their early ego-builders and cheerleaders, the listening ear, the encouraging word. The mother-son relationship is unique and powerful.
That truth was brought vividly home to me at my mother’s funeral as my brother and I stood together over our mother's casket, voices choked and tears brimming. My tall, strong, normally very composed brother suddenly turned, threw his arms around me, put his head on my shoulder and sobbed. I cried for him and with him. His loss was profound. My brother, for just one tender moment, was once again a little boy who was saying good-bye to the woman who had played such a large role in making him the man he had become. His heart was broken.
For both daughters and sons, mothers are irreplaceable. Their impact on our lives is inestimable and long outlives them. For those of you whose mothers are living, take the opportunity this week to build lasting memories. Spend time with your mother. Make that call. Take that drive. Laugh with her. Hug and kiss her. Honor her. No amount of hawking by the retail mongers of our day should rob us of making this day special for mothers. But more importantly, endeavor to make every day special for the mother you have been blessed with. In doing so, you give honor to whom honor is due and you create lessons and memories that will last even more than a lifetime as the next generation watches and learns. That's the legacy of a mother.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
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