Commentary by Bill Buchanan
Mother’s Day slipped up on me as it has the past several years. I suppose when your mother has been gone for more than 20 years, you think more about her on Mother’s Day itself and the days afterward than you do in the time leading up to it.
My mother was an exceptional person. She died from a heart weakened as much by the chemotherapy as the cancer it was supposed to control. I held her hand in the hospital as she died. She was there with me when I came into the world and I was with her as she left it —- a painful symmetry, but one for which I am thankful.
When my daddy died, she was suddenly saddled with two young children — thrust into the roles of mother and father as well as breadwinner — all with no blueprint to guide her. All this landed on her as she was in the throes of grief and mourning over the loss of her husband. My mother handled it all so expertly that I am in awe of her to this day. I sometimes think one of the reasons I chose not to have children was because my mother set the parental bar so high I was intimidated. I knew I would never be selfless enough to come close to her as a parent.
Years ago I wrote a column about mothers, in particular my mother. My sister took the column and needlepointed the words onto a canvas, which we framed as a gift to my mother. The column could have used some more work, and the stitching wasn’t perfect, but we never gave my mother a gift she treasured more.
I have included the column here to honor the women who have made such a difference in our lives.
What Is a Mother?
A mother is someone who —
Sits out and bakes in the hot sun so she can watch you while you go swimming
Goes to all your little league baseball games and cheers her head off — –even when she doesn’t give a hoot about sports
Somehow stretches a meal so that everyone always has plenty — –even when you show up for dinner with four unexpected guests
Gives up something she wants so you can have something you want — –and never complains
Washes, irons, mends, cooks, cleans, and in general performs tasks for you a galley slave would object to — all without asking so much as a “thank you”
Warns you about watching a “scary” movie — then sits up with you when you can’t sleep
Knows when to talk to you, and, just as importantly, when to listen
Gives up her weekend to type your term paper
Gives you a boost when you’re down, and brings you back to earth when you’re overconfident
Laughs at your jokes — even when they’re not all that funny
Makes your friends feel like part of the family
Shares your dreams
Suffers more over your setbacks and enjoys your successes more than you do
Knows right from wrong — and makes sure that you do, too
Administers discipline — even when it would be easier just to give in
Seems to get smarter each year
Always seems to know what to say
Loves you so much she would keep you forever — but loves you enough to let you go your own way when the time comes
Gives everything — and asks very little in return
What is a Mother? A Mother is perhaps God’s greatest invention — and I’ve got the best one he ever made.
Happy (late) Mother’s Day.