What Mothers Know


Ann Marie Eckert

One of my favorite lines in scripture comes from the story where Jesus, as a teenager, stays behind in Jerusalem and Mary and Joseph must go searching for him. The story ends with the words "and his mother kept all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:51) The mothers whom I know suffer all the heartbreaks and joys of their children, and I believe that they keep all of these things in their heart. My own mother, when asked what it means to be a mother, simply said this: "It is the fullness of life."

I am not a mother, so I can only share with you the wisdom and insights that come from my friends and family who are mothers. I will let them speak their truth, the things they hold in their hearts.

Mary Beth, mother to two, said: "Being a mom is about trying to pave a way for my children to live their own lives to their fullest. Being a mom is being fiercely protective, without it being obvious. Being a mom is teaching every day, but learning more than they do. Being a mom is planning and organizing and creating space in all the chaos. Being a mom is hugging when no one else's hugs are quite good enough. Being a mom is sitting still for infinite hours because your sick child is using your lap as her pillow. Being a mom is being able to say, like I do to my daughters, 'I love you more today than I did yesterday' and knowing it to be true."

Mariette, mother of three, shared: "Some days when I see my kids in action I find my heart racing as I realize, oh my gosh, I gave birth to these people, something that was beyond my wildest dreams and a gift I hope I never fail to appreciate."

Amy, mother of four, described it this way: "It is a little known fact that the real business of parenting is the upbringing of the parent. — Polly Berrein Berends. I never imagined how much they would gift me with the lessons of ME. I have learned, reflected, grieved, and celebrated the parts of me that spring to life when one of the kid's actions or sentiments or reactions evokes a memory or a realization about who I was at that age. I am astounded and completely grateful that they have also brought me news of my limitations, my strengths, and my weaknesses."

Theresa, mother of three, commented: "Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done — and the job I most love."

In these simple reflections, I can't help but hear the great love these moms have for their children. Jesse Manibusan and Ken Canedo wrote a beautiful song about the gift of parenting. It is called Live in Love and it begins as so many of the moms above do:

To love you is all I ever really wanted;
Help you see the blessing that you are;
Watch you growing every day
in beauty, love, and every way.

As we head towards Mother's Day, let us pause to celebrate the gift of our own mothers. It is easy to simply buy the card, make the phone call, or cook the dinner. It is something else to celebrate the gift of love we have received from our moms. Let's not forget to use this special day to say thanks for all the things our moms have kept in their hearts for us.

Let us pray today and on Mother's Day . . .

Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gifts of our own mothers and all those who have showered us with motherly love. Be with all women who are mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, and guardians of children. May the example of Mary's love for Jesus inspire all of us to love not only our own children, but all the children of the world. Help us to grow in love and faith. Amen.

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