How My Mom Went from Out-of-Touch to the Wisest Woman on the Planet -- A Mothers Day Tribute

L-R My sister, Dad, Mom, and me :)
I’m not sure how my mother went from being out-of-touch to being the wisest woman on the planet, but I remember my dawning awareness of her greatness. 

 The first inkling of her buried wisdom came on the day my husband and I moved into our first home. Mom came to help me unpack, and I eagerly showed her the living room curtains I’d picked out. And the decorative rods. And the mini-blinds. 

Then it dawned on me—I didn’t have a clue how to hang them. Those were the days before YouTube videos and tutorials, and I had no life experience from which to draw. Prepared to suspend my decorating until my husband got home, I turned to her and said, “I have no idea how to hang this stuff.” 

“Oh, that’s easy,” she said. She took the hardware out of my hands, grabbed a screwdriver, and went to work. In no time at all, my blinds were up, and my curtains were hanging beautifully. 

I’d forgotten that she and dad had built our little house in Rhode Island from the outer walls in. Working in an unheated shell in the middle of winter with only a kerosene heater for warmth, they installed plumbing and electricity, hung sheet rock, and laid flooring. Compared to building a house, curtain rods and mini-blinds were kindergarten exercises.

My first few years of married life provided additional glimpses of my mom’s intelligence. I re-discovered that she knew how to make jam. And give permanents (Remember Farah Fawcett hair?). And paint. 

I knew she could do all these things when I was a child, but when I entered adolescence, I think she lost those abilities. Or perhaps I didn’t value them. 

But I’ll never forget the day she moved from clueless to genius in my eyes. We'd brought brought our first daughter home from the hospital five days earlier. Bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, aching from a C-section, and clueless about how to care for a baby, I opened the door to her smiling face. She’d offered to spend the week with us, helping us acclimate. 

That week was when my mother’s genius shone. When she diapered the baby, my daughter’s runny explosions stayed in rather than leaking all over my lap. When she cried inconsolably, my mom soothed her with a pat/bob/sway maneuver that rivaled the most graceful dancer. When it was time for her first bath, she showed me how to wash my slippery, floppy baby without drowning her. And in between, she fixed meals, washed laundry, and drank leisurely cups of coffee. I was convinced. She was brilliant. 

The subsequent 27 years have only served to reinforce my belief that my mom is one smart cookie.

I don't know where you are in your mothering journey. Maybe your toddlers consider you a rock star and think you're the smartest mommy on the planet. Or maybe you're in the out-of-touch stage, and your teenagers are discounting most of what you say. Perhaps you're getting smarter, and your young adult kids occasionally see sparks of genius. Or maybe you're receiving the reward of your parenting--your children are arising and calling you "blessed." 

Whichever stage you find yourself, rest assured. God sees the sacrifices you're making on behalf of your children. He hears the prayers you pray for them. And he will reward you. Even if our children never speak words of commendation and honor, God will. 

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers" (Gal. :9).

This Sunday is Mother's Day. Whether you are a mother, have a mother, or have been blessed by someone who isn't your mother, take a moment to speak words of thanks and affirmation to the women who have helped make you who you are. You'll be blessed and so will they. 

Happy Mother's Day. 

*Portions of this post appeared in the Editor's Letter of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, May 2017.

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