An open letter to mothers everywhere

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Moms are defined by DNA or biology or anything but the way they are bonded with those children they love.

By Steve Doyle

Dear Mom:

That’s what I’ll call you here, though many of my friends and family may call you Mother or Mama or Momma or Madre or Ma or even something more formal. They may even call you by your name.

But we all probably should call you angel, because without you, we would not exist.

It’s not that you necessarily gave birth to us, it’s that you embraced us from the instant we met, gave us love, shelter, food and everything else essential to growing our lives.

We don’t remember that first moment, of course, but we do know that the comfort we felt has transcended time and place.

They say babies and mothers communicate during pregnancy, but do we believe we had to be in your tummy to understand the love you were sending into our hearts and souls?

I know that people sometimes question their Moms. They wonder why they act a certain way or treat them a certain way.

A Mom often will tell her children that they someday would understand why she did what she did, that the hard lessons will become clear and the clear lessons may become hard.

That’s pretty much the way it is, too, the way you taught us to carry forward from that first moment you held us and told us that you loved us.

What you have given in strength, wisdom and love never could be reimbursed.

Maybe it’s because you fed us and kept us warm that we were first drawn to you. That’s the force of nature, it would seem, but maybe it’s more than that.

Don’t you imagine that when God was planning your life and our lives he paired us up, knowing our paths and our needs and that each would provide for the other? Isn’t that true whether or not we are genetically related?

No, the word “Mom” doesn’t necessarily apply to a biological act. Motherhood is born in the heart and soul. That has been engraved in our hearts by the selfless acts of women who embrace strangers and give them more love than they ever would have known.

Do you know that when we first really understood who you were, you already felt familiar to us?

Do you know that going to bed at night without thinking of you or mentioning your name to God, to being thankful for the blessing that you are, feels like a missed opportunity to return the biggest favor anyone ever could give?

There are not enough ways to say thanks. Not enough time or words to express all the things we have to be thankful for, not enough gifts, not enough Hallmark greetings, not enough of anything.

How do you say thanks for allowing us to be?

Every child can say that, but it’s not the same for everyone either. A mother’s love is as unique and as  divinely defined as the hair on each head, don’t you think?

There’s a mother who has a daughter who loves her more than either of them can say. It beams across both their faces upon greetings, upon sharing a moment, throughout the days, no matter if they are at work or at play.

They are bonded by every adherent that ever could attach a mother and daughter except DNA, and only  barely would you know that, and it’s only because they look different from one another.

They inspire us, because they display a level of love from a mother to child that proves the match from God is really far more intricate than biology, that motherhood is intrinsic.

Television and movies have tended to show us examples of how society thinks of mothers. Sometimes it’s June Cleaver or Harriett Nelson or Claire Huxtable or even Lily Munster.

They showed us Lucille Ball pregnant and Brian Keith being both parents to his foster kids on Family Affair. They displayed the abusive horror of actress Joan Crawford and brought to vision the mother of Jesus.

But many of those moms didn’t get full credit because they were second bananas. There was Father Knows Best, but why never Mother Knew Best?

Some of us have been blessed to live our lives surrounded by you and other great mothers. Our grandmothers were full of love and inspiration. Our friends’ moms always were embracing and full of life – at least to us.

Our own wives have  selflessly devoted their lives to make others’ better, inspired by their own Moms in all the positives that ever matter.

Our daughters and daughters-in-law wait for years in required patience for the right baby to be delivered to their arms, and others send your children off to war and play Mother and Father by the shear force of society.

Some are brand new Moms who never knew the feeling they would have when they at long last held their own baby in their arms.

Of the millions of words that we have read about mothers, the phrases no matter how well-turned, the succinctity or expanse of the sentences irrelevant, none ever has seemed adequate or eloquent enough to define those three little letters that capture our hearts and sometimes determine the courses of our lives, the ones men most often tattoo on their skin for life.

M. O. M.

Do you think it’s coincidence that the first two words a 5-year-old learned to spell and write were “Mom” and “love”?

No, we don’t either.

That’s the way it should be for all of us.

Happy Mother’s Day.


Your Son