A dear friend of mine recently lost his mom to the cruel disease, dementia. In his memorial speech, he stated some powerful, emotional words, sharing what he has learned about love in the past few years. To be the best (father, husband, friend . . .) he could be, he should “love others as my mother loved me.”
It seems so simple and obvious, right? A mother’s love is undying. It’s powerful enough to hold up through unimaginable exhaustion, tantrums, back-talk, harsh words, throw-up, fevers, school plays, daycare drop-offs, snuggles, shared books, dinner time, silly times, calm times . . . all of time. It is so profound that I can’t appropriately capture it in words. For each of us, our own mom (Mom, Mommy, Mother, Mum) has always known just how to comfort us, to encourage us, to discipline us, to support us. And while the mother-child bond is certainly a unique and special one, there’s no reason we shouldn’t spread love like that to others as well.
I started wondering whether I do this. I remember the time in grad school when I held the barf bag on a turbulent flight while my friend repeatedly threw up in it. I remember thinking, “Wow, I will make a good mom someday if I was able to stomach that!” But am I? Am I showing love to my children in the same perfectly attentive and tender way my mom loves me?
I’ve been reflecting on this a bit. To love others like my mom loves me, I need to remember 5 Ps that she masterfully demonstrates. See if they resonate with you, too.
5Ps of My Mother’s Love
I never stopped talking as a child. And yet I remember one and only one time when my mom asked me to please be quiet. She has the patience of a . . . well, I don’t know what. But it took a LOT to get her to raise her hand next to her forehead and say, through gritted teeth, “I have had it up to HERE with you.” But even that is telling. She’s only 5 feet tall, so “up to here” wasn’t so bad . . .
I don’t seem to exhibit the same patience with my children. Granted, they are three high energy boys, almost 100% rascal, while my mom “only” dealt with my angelic sister and me as children. I yell more than I planned to and more than I want to, but sometimes it’s the only way to get my kids to listen. I’m working on it . . . and it would help if they’d put their shoes on the first, or even the fifth, time I asked them, instead of the twenty-third time.
There has never been a time in my life when I needed my mom and she wasn’t there for me. Whether it was sleepless nights because of bad dreams in the ‘80s, or one month ago when I had the flu and just needed her to visit, she is here. I think I’m checking the box here . . . with friends, co-workers, and most importantly, with family. I have some late nights and travel for work, but I try to be 100% with my kids when I’m with them. I know I can do better, though. Put the phone down. Close the laptop. Let the laundry or dishes pile up. (Yes, that’s going to be my excuse for a messy house from now on) Focus . Focus on those little faces and look them in the eye so they know I will always be there when they need me.
My mom is my biggest fan. I think I could do just about anything and she’d feel proud of me. And she has an unparalleled ability to make others feel special and proud, too. Each of my children knows what they mean to her. Each of her students feels her support. I know I’m proud beyond words of my kids, but I want to make sure they know it and they feel special, too. That means I should stop occasionally responding in a snarky tone when they ask me something over and over. No matter how exhausted I am, I need to give them the spotlight and let them know how special they are and what they mean to me. The world. The universe . . . I don’t remember my mom ever having used snarky tone with me. Maybe it’s selective memory. Or maybe she’s just that great.
Laugh! At yourself, at a show, at a joke, at a memory, at something you see, at a funny thought. Laugh, and let it roll right out of you. My mom has a hilarious and indescribable chuckle that builds into a raucous, joyous, hilarious crescendo as it rolls. It’s awesome. You can’t hear it and not laugh yourself. We laugh a lot in my house, but I need to remember to keep it light with my kids. After a long, stressful day, when I know I have hours left of stuff to do even after the kids go to bed, sometimes I forget to keep it punchy. But when I do, it’s fun for all. More of that is in order.
Moments are precious. People are precious. Our time together is precious. As much as I hate that word, it’s true. Precious moments go flying by each day, and you don’t get them back. So, notice them. Live in them and breathe in them. Take a minute to recognize that your son wants to hold your hand, because someday he’ll be old enough to not want that. When he wakes up in the night, comfort him. Let him snuggle in your bed. Read one more story. Have an extra dessert (or two!). Live in the moment and tuck in your heart how truly precious connections between people are.
There is no way to describe my mom’s love, but I know it and I feel it in my heart. If I can stick to these 5Ps, I can love others as she loves me, and that’s what I hope to do. Do you plan to, too?
#mobtruths #motherslove #parenting