Mothers and what they mean

By Reade Brower | May 17, 2018

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”

--- Washington Irving, author, essayist (1783-1859)

It is said that at many men’s prisons Mother’s Day is the day of the year with the longest waiting line for phones. Father’s Day is just another day, they say, but Mother’s Day brings out emotions, with cards and letters to mark the occasion.

The mother is the rock of most families; while fathers add to stability and provide a needed buffer, the glue and foundation comes from a mother’s innate instincts to protect her young and to love them with heart.

While they provide the backbone, sometimes they are not understood or appreciated until they are gone; taken for granted and selfless creatures, often overlooked.

It has been a wonder to watch my wife mother our children; not only do they model her compassion, but they appreciate her dogged support. In the case of my sons, they can always count on their mother to tell them “good job” and mean it. As their father, praise doesn’t come that easily for me, and is measured.

When a son would hit a long fly ball that was easily tracked down by the centerfielder, my wife would praise him later for “such a far hit.” I would look at his eyes roll, knowing he was silently thinking “but it was an out, and the bases were loaded.” On the other hand, I could tell him that wasn’t his finest moment, but beating out that grounder to short was pure hustle and kept an inning going.

We need both kinds of love to develop our best potential, but without a mother’s love, a father’s guidance can lead only so far. I would like to be more like a mother, but it is not innate; my natural instinct is to teach, to explain and to fix. Not so with mothers; they know how to listen. They know instinctively how to give an unconditional love that may not be deserved (by nature, that’s what makes it unconditional), but allows you to know she is on your side whether you hit a home run or struck out.

As for my own mother; I wish I had shared more of my time and perhaps found more moments to share stories. That’s all the return that’s asked; a pretty petty price for the woman who changed your diapers and didn’t wince. In the war with our self-esteem, a battle most struggle with at least a little, mothers come fully armed and prepared to help by telling us; we are good enough, we are smart enough, and people like us.

In appreciation to all mothers on earth, may they rejoice in their collective efforts to save mankind; may they not have to carry the burden alone.

***

Speaking of mothers, we need more women in politics, and more youth.

It appears we are getting both in the next election cycle; there are groups encouraging and working with women in both political parties to run both locally and statewide. White male privilege is still a barrier, but getting women to run is the beginning.

For anyone who claims that women fold under pressure, I recommend listening to the audio from the recent Southwest Airlines accident. It can be found on Youtube. Cool, calm and collected was the female pilot.

Women have the ability to use and channel their emotions; it is not the other way around.

Next, let’s turn to our young -- many are insisting we listen to their voices; let’s hope they stay involved and vote when they turn eighteen. Sixteen year-old Pearl Benjamin, who pens a regular opinion column for the Camden Herald, continues to offer intelligent insights, last week writing about legislators trying to push through a training wage reduction for under-18 workers.

Although I don’t agree that a sub-minimum wage for those first entering the workforce should be off the table, what was clear and interesting was how dismissive the legislators were of Pearl and her young colleagues who showed up to give their opinions in Augusta.

Whether or not you agree with her arguments, they are sound, rational and given through personal experiences that are current and relevant.

That leads to the point: listen to those you serve or get replaced by someone who will.

“A man must be excessively stupid, as well as uncharitable, who believes there is no virtue but on his own side.”

--- Joseph Addison, essayist, poet (1672-1719)

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