Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Love: Tradition Maker, Memory Keeper, Warrior-ess

Saturday night is our Mass time.  Five pm.  Tom usually works Monday - Saturday, so by 5pm on Saturday evenings, we meet up with him at St. Vincent's on Market Street in Akron, across from his work.  We have a little community of friends we see there every week.  They range in age from 2 to 92.  They know us mostly by our boys and they make us feel at home.  That is part of the reason we love attending and one of the other reasons is Father Kraker who gives wonderful sermons.

His Mother's Day sermon was one for the books.  He spoke of the traditions his mother instilled in his family.  Of the religious traditions she shared.  Of her spiritual leadership of her family.

He then told a story of two tribes of people in a land far away.  One tribe lived in the mountains and the other tribe lived in the valley.  They battled fiercely for decades and generations.  During one battle the mountain tribe infiltrated the valley tribe and when the battle was over, the valley tribe realized that the mountain tribe had taken an 8-month-old infant back to their mountain.  The valley tribe was distraught.  They asked each other how they would ever get that infant back.  Who could they send to the mountain to retrieve the baby?  None of their soldiers were experienced enough in the mountain terrain.  They didn't know the climate.  They couldn't stand the deep terrain.  After days of debate, they finally settled on a team of their bravest and strongest soldiers to send up to retrieve the baby and up the mountain these brave soldiers climbed.

About half way there, they saw someone coming down the mountain and they immediately were on guard.  As the figure grew closer and closer they realized it was a woman.  She was carrying the missing child.  Finally she reached them and they said, "Who are you?"

She answered, "I am his mother."

If you are a mother, or even if you have a mother, you know this story to be true.  For mothers possess a strength, a fierceness and a sense of self-sacrifice that is stronger than any other.  

For my mom, for my grandmas, for my children's grandmas and all the "moms" (aunts, babysitters, friends, teachers) they know- I am grateful.

For the opportunity to be my babies' tradition maker and memory keeper and warrior-ess-- I am grateful.  

For the love of these amazing boys-- my cup runneth over.

Much like many things in life, the older I get the more I realize I have little to no control as to how the story goes.  

About six to eight months ago we saw a presentation by a woman who has a son with Down syndrome.  She talked about how he didn't say "mama" until he was four years old.  "Four years old!" I thought to myself.  Impossible.  Even as I thought it I shamed myself for judging and refusing to believe it could be me in her shoes. 

I have given Joey false deadline after false deadline.  By Christmas, by Valentine's Day, by Easter, by Mother's Day-- surely he would say "mama" by now?  He has said "dada" so clearly and so consistently for months now.  

And yet, why does it even matter?  Surely he would not require me to perform some trick or skill by a deadline.  Putting these false deadlines on him is the equivalent of him not wanting to give me hugs or kisses until I lose another 10 pounds.  It's so meaningless in the big scheme of things.  As he has shown us over and over, he will do his best in his own time.  For that, I love and respect him-- always and forever.

This Mother's Day I am grateful for the love of my family.  I am grateful for the opportunity to be brave for them, to help create traditions with them and to be the keeper of their childhood memories.

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