by Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila
This year as we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 13, 2012, let us reflect on MOTHERHOOD, on womanhood in all its glory!
What makes a good mother? Is it patience? Compassion? Her passion for living? Broad hips for easy childbearing? A sexy body? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, keep track of son’s exuberant soccer practice in the living room, and help daughter with her school project, all at the same time? Is it the ability to soothe her husband’s business-related anxiety, comfort a heart-broken teenager, while making soup for the toddler who is in bed with a fever, all at the same time with a smile on her face?
Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache she feels when she watches her 7-yr-old baby disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes her from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 a.m. to calm a fretful, crying baby? Or, the panic, years later, that comes again at 2 a.m. when she just wants to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in her home? Is it the cry in her heart when her about-to-be teenager comes home with black eyes and bloody bruises proudly boasting that she should see the other guy? Or, the anxious concern in her heart for her 17-yr daughter who suddenly announces she is engaged to be married?
The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts go out to young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation … to mothers-to-be who are anxiously anticipating the experience of pain and joy in giving birth to a new life … for mature mothers learning to let go when their children, now fledgling adults leave the home nest for the wide, wide world … and for the even more mature mothers, now lolas, who look forward to every visit from their apo and apo sa tuhod.
We celebrate working mothers and stay-at-home mothers, single mothers, married mothers, and abandoned mothers, moms with money and moms who make do with what little they have. Mother’s Day is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat, for those mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home, or even away at college, or have their own families.
Some people try to separate womanhood from motherhood. But, I believe, at heart each woman is a mother (although there are one or two women I’ve met that don’t seem to have the mothering instinct). Even those women who are not married yet, who may choose to remain single … yet they are “mothers-at-heart” to their nieces, to the neighbor’s kids, even to those who are just passing by. When we take time to chat and interact with “children of all ages”, including those adults entering their second, or perhaps third, childhoods, we are sharing our motherly psyche.
Mother’s Day is the day to keep in our thoughts and our prayers all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war. It is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can’t find the words to reach them. And for all the mothers who bite their lips until they bleed, praying for God-given patience, when their 14-yr-olds dye their hair green.
As mothers we treasure those memories of the times when our children acknowledge us with love as their “mothers”. It was at the wedding of our son Mars in June 30, 2001, during his response at the reception that he paid tribute to his parents. I had tears in my eyes when as his tribute to his mother, to me, he stated that his mother exemplified motherhood as quoted in 1 Timothy 2:9-15: “Women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds. … She receives instruction silently and under complete control. … She is quiet. She will be saved through motherhood, as she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
Mother’s Day is for all of us – mothers and women, whatever our age or status. Because, praise God, we know that motherhood never goes out of fashion. We ask ourselves ‘how good a mother am I, in the eyes of my family, in the eyes of God?’ In the end we can only do the best we can and trust God to do the best He can. We can tell them every day that we love them. And pray that we will never stop being a mother at heart. Because where would civilization be today without us mothers?