Time passes, but mothers will always be mothers

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mother’s Day this year is bittersweet.

For a number of years, I have used this special day to pay tribute and give recognition to the role of motherhood and the significant importance these women play in the development of future generations.

Two things have changed this year.

First, my wife and I have had the honor of working with a group of at-risk children during the past year. These beautiful kids bring such pleasure and enjoyment to our experience and I pray, in turn, that we have somehow touched their lives in a meaningful way.

Through this process, we have learned that many of these youngsters are raised by mothers and grandmothers without the presence of a male role model in the home.

The burden of single parenthood — more often than not by a female — is a challenge beyond comprehension. Yet these women provide the stability, love and devotion that allows these young people to navigate an often challenging future.

This experience has given me a new perspective on the importance of mothers and their role in society and in the home.

At the same time, my mother — at the tender age of 92 — is facing challenges that require skills and patience and more prayer than I ever imagined.

I failed in my younger years to face the reality of what today has brought. I find myself ill-prepared to fulfill the family roles that have now been reversed.

Daily I recall memories of a proud, strong woman who guided children through those challenging years into adulthood. But more often than not, those fond memories are all but lost in the fog and haze of declining health and memory.

I find myself asking “do you remember...” when I know the answer before I ask the question. She does not remember and I have to accept that reality.

Today her simple smile substitutes for a conversation. The pictures on the wall are a reminder of a wonderful life, even though we often have to remind her of those faces that were once so very familiar.

And yet she remains a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

When each of us — in our own way — picture our mothers, we conjure memories of special times. Often little moments — sometimes long forgotten — form the basis for those memories.

I recently reminded my mother of a special memory from over 60 years ago. That memory has now been lost in time to her, yet to me, it remains crystal clear.

It matters not if your fond memories portray a young woman raising children or a more mature woman proudly showing off grandchildren or an aging woman lost in past memories.

That strong woman is and will always remain your mother and her contribution to your life will never diminish.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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