Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton
May 20, 2007


Mother's Day churns up all kinds of feelings  


          Forgive me for bringing it up but there are some things about Mother’s Day that I need to share. Each year I observe a certain sadness that accompanies this annual tribute to our mothers. It is a sadness that we ought to examine.

          Some women who never had children find Mother’s Day uncomfortable. That we can all understand. But perhaps we need to let them know we care about the pain they feel.

          Other women who have buried a child are reminded of what might have been when they see children honoring their mothers with flowers and gifts. This must be especially painful when the deceased child was an only child.

          Then there are the mothers who are estranged from their children. How grievous must be their pain. One woman told me, “My daughter has not spoken to me in 20 years.” I ministered to one mother whose dying wish was not granted. Her oldest son, alienated from her and his siblings for years, never came to her bedside. To this day I believe she died of a broken heart.

          You learn to cope with the sorrow of your mother’s death but it never really leaves you.
Mother’s Day has not been the same for my wife and me since our mothers died. We had them with us a long time. They both lived into their nineties but we still miss them very much. Life is simply different after you bury the woman who brought you into this world. There are no gifts to buy, no cards to send, no hanging baskets to purchase, no phone calls to make.

It blesses me when our children remember to honor their mother. It does my heart good to see our sons let their mom know how much they love her, and how much they remember all the little things she did for them when they were growing up.

Many years pass before most of us realize what sacrifices our mothers made for us. When we are children, our judgment is impaired by our own self-centeredness. We often take Mom's hard work for granted. We are so focused on our own wants and desires that we fail to recognize the many ways Mom put her needs aside in order to meet our needs.

When we compare notes, it is surprising how many of us had mothers who preferred necks, backs, and chicken wings instead of the breasts and thighs. In fact, some of us are 30 or 40 years old before it dawns on us why Mom always chose a neck or a wing. It was just another way she found to deny herself so that her children could have the best.

Mother's Day is a good day for families to get together and remember fun times. Nowadays when our sons are with us, they laugh a lot recalling some of the brilliant things they did when they were young, and the dumb things their parents did. They remind us of all the times when they "fooled us" so that we did not have a clue what trouble they were getting into.

The late humorist Erma Bombeck understood the tough job that mothers have. She said, "I always knew that raising kids, if you did it right, might impair you from living a normal life. My tongue was nearly severed by an eight-month-old baby who positioned himself under my chin and then stood up."

Bombeck could leave us in stitches describing the life of a mother. "Motherhood," she said, "is definitely not a job for sissies. You must have courage to enter a car with a teenage driver who released the hood on the expressway, thinking he's turning on the lights. You must have stamina to drag a preschooler on your leg for two blocks while he is dragging a bubble-gum machine behind him." Erma insisted that mothers must have the firmness to say, "Do not force those keys up Mommy's nose or Mommy will pass out."

The late humorist told about one mother who was numb as she checked herself into a hospital. Asked the cause of her dizziness, she replied, "I was hit by a truck." She simply did not have the heart to tell the admissions nurse that it was a toy dump truck that her son dropped on her head from his bunk bed. She told us about another mom who had not seen her son's bedroom for more than a year. Then one day when she dared to enter the room, she opened the door, looked in, and lost the sight in her good eye!

Perhaps such funny stories, and those of your own family, can give us a few good laughs on a day when many of us will experience some sadness. But if we try, we can spend some time reminiscing and laughing as we recall a few of our choice memories. Perhaps the most important thing we can do is to remember, and give thanks, for the many sacrifices our mothers made for us simply because they loved us.

Most of us will have to admit, we were blessed by the Mom God gave us, and we owe her a debt we can never repay. At the same time it behooves us to be sensitive to the women in our midst who are struggling to get through a day they find it very painful to celebrate. + + + +