When God made Mothers, I think he had the biggest job of all. They have to be able to look just like everybody else, but be made of stuff that is totally flexible. Stuff that begins to stretch and widen growing fuller as ligaments soften and hips spread, a heart that widens with grace to face the years. A heart that is tough enough to endure from the beginning waves of pain that bring a child into the world, to the very last of the swelling tidal waves of disappointment and heartbreak than can crash and break on the shores of over a mother’s heart, and never stop loving and giving and caring.
She must have a heart of steel, to insist that a child return that stolen candy with a bite out of it, and pay for it as well, to handle the toddler’s tantrum, and the teenager’s testings and stand strong and pray. That same heart must also be softer than feather down, able to encompass with unconditional love and care, everything from the boo boo of a toddler to the heart break of a teen, and know how to heal it with a kiss. And it has to be BIG too! Big enough to hold a million memories, to keep embracing when little arms repel, or bigger backs turn away. Big enough to pull her out of bed at night, again, to scoop up and rock and cradle and nourish the little one, when her own eyes are falling shut because she’s sleep starved and has worked an 80 hour week and still picked up that last dirty sock and started one more load of laundry before falling in bed. And do it again tomorrow, and year after year. The toddler will need potty, the sheets may be wet, or someone’s having a bad dream or a muscle cramp, or the teen needs to share her heart.
She must be able to do the impossible – to feed a family of nine on a pound of ground beef, and then make it stretch for that extra out of state family that’s dropping by as well. She must use two hands to do the work of six, when the baby is pulling on her skirt, and the phone is ringing, breakfast is frying, and she’s combing pigtails all at one time. And two eyes must be six, two that can see through closed doors, and know what’s happening, two in the back of her head that pick up on things she couldn’t possibly have seen, and the two very nessesary but rarely sung ones that can speak with out a word, by just looking.
She must be able to soothe the fevered brow and nurse the sick little ones back to health, and then do it for herself as well, because mammas can never be sick. She must be able to get more done in a day than is really possible, and teach reading, math and science, cook, and clean(and help the young ones to learn to do the same, even if it means keeping Billy at the job of cleaning his room for two long hours, even if she could do it in 15 min), and still find time to sit down and read a story or play with play dough with the little ones.
She’s got to be able to carry all this load, and yet let her children learn to take responsibility, and let them make mistakes and forgive and love. And when patience has run thin and she’s forgotten grace, when she’s failed herself, she’s got to be able to admit it and ask for forgiveness, even if she “had every right” so-to-speak.
She’s got to be able to love her family for who they are and not hold them to the standard of who she would like them to be. She’s got to be able to laugh and have fun, sing when the sky is gray, say ‘yes’ when she wouldn’t have too, just because she can, and ‘no’ when she needs to, even if they won’t understand why others can and they can not.
She’s got to love and keep on loving and loving, just like God does, as the years wear away. And sometimes no one but God ever sees or notices. Most of what a mother does will never be sung til that final day. But God will be her refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Yes, Mothers are truly God’s crowning work of grace and beauty and love.
Thank you, Mother for being all this to me.