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Have you ever thought ... of what you wished you had told your mother?

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. A day to celebrate what a special blessing one’s mother is to each of us.  Some will be able to tell their mothers, some of us will only be able to wish we had told our mother’s more how much they meant to us.   To all mothers, we take this day to celebrate the love you first gave to us.  Use today to share the love that was first given to us.  If you don’t believe in love at first sight, ask any mother.

Barbara Bush died a few weeks before Mother’s Day last year. She was called by “People Magazine,” “the most underestimated First Lady of modern times.” She once said, “Your success as a family, or our success as a society, depends not so much on what happens at the White House but on what happens inside your house.” 

 Someone has also well stated it when they said, “I don’t understand why women say, I’m just a mom; remind me again which job on the planet is more important.”

There is so much I wish I had told my mother.   But it took time for me to truly realize what a powerful and vital role she played in my life.  Just as I am sure it true for you.   It took at least becoming a father, if not a grandfather or even a great-grandfather, to realize how wise God had been in creating us to be born into the loving embrace of our family.   We humans need care longer than any other species.

As I have watched my wife, my daughter, and now my granddaughter in law love and care for their children, I realize what a powerful influence a mother has on the life they brought into this world.  God’s creation was at His best when God created the role of motherhood.

President Harry Truman, in his usual very blunt way said, “No one in the world can take the place of your mother.  Right or wrong, from her viewpoint you are always right. She may scold you for little things, but never for the big ones.”

Years ago, I saw a cartoon about the employment office of “Motherhood Inc.” The applicant, on reading the application, said, “One vacation day a year, that’s all I get?”  “That is right and we call it Mother’s Day but technically you still have to work.”  Another cartoon declared, “Behind every Mom is a basket of dirty laundry.” Being a mother is a real challenge and we must not limit our expression of appreciation to just one day.

For many of us, it is too late to tell our mothers how we appreciate them. But we can let those who are mothers today know how much we appreciate what they do and mean to our world.  I always make sure that on this day I let the mother of my children, the mother of my grandchildren, and the mother of my great-grandchildren know how much I value what they do and how much they mean to me. Without them, my world would be much less than it is.    

Rudyard Kipling, the English journalist, who wrote among other things, “The Jungle Book” and “Kim”, said, “God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers”.  Those basic things I received in life from my mother makes me wish I could tell her how much I value what she did.  Abraham Lincoln summed it up by saying, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  He added later, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life.”

Long before each of us drew our first breath, our mother loved us. Erich Fromm, philosopher and psychologist, wrote, “Mother’s love is peace. It need not to be acquired, it need not be deserved.” I am reminded of a visitor from another part of the country who stopped at a diner in a small southern town for breakfast. When the breakfast was served, the guest asked what those white things with his eggs were. The waitress replied, “they are grits.” “But I didn’t order any grits,” he protested. The waitress   replied, “Oh you don’t understand, you don’t order grits, they just happen.”   So with the blessings of a mother’s love, they just happen.

I noticed in my fifty years of ministry, the attendance was always very high at church on Mother’s Day and that Father’s Day didn’t seem to add much to the attendance.  This is not a slap at Fathers, I like to think we are important too. It is just a recognition of the very special place there is for Mothers and the love and life they gave to each of us.

B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington.