Doing Family Right

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Parenting: The DNA of a Great Mother

Her name is Mother…sometimes known as Mommy, Mom, Ma or Mumsy. Each verbal expression conjures up its own sentiment complete with a host of memories. A universal trait of us all, every one has a mother. And each is as unique as the fingerprints she bears.  I remember my Mother through so many great moments that I will cherish forever. Hard to believe it’s been ten years since she lost her battle with cancer.

Please allow me to reminisce and hit a few highlights of my life with Mom. In the process, I am convinced we will likely uncover the DNA of a great mother.

The first incident I’ll recall was when I was 4 or 5 years old. I was fighting a nasty earache and couldn’t sleep. In the dark of night, I left my room for the comfort of my parents because if anyone could take the pain away, they could. Whether eardrops made a difference or not, they were part of the cure. But what really soothed this little boy’s heart was the comfort of my Mother’s assuring words, her warm arms around me, the beating of her heart, the rocking of the chair and her soft humming of an old hymn. I felt safe.

My first grade birthday party holds a ton of great memories. For many years, I was allowed to invite every kid in my class. Imagine…what an event! I remember Mom’s extra effort with the crazy games, the scavenger hunt, the hotdogs and Kool-Aid, and then the decorated cake. She made it all happen. Then, I got to open up all 26 presents (most I am sure were from the S. S. Kresge’s Department Store, the forerunner to K-Mart). I ceremoniously lined up the gifts against the side of my house. Because of Mom’s commitment to encourage me, I flourished in her special attention. The kids talked about my party for weeks. I felt celebrated.

Mom always worked to make life fun. She sewed cowboy outfits, a Zorro cape, and a GI Joe tent. She made the coolest matching outfits for our vocal group called “SHALOM”. I know, how 70’s!! She made a curtain for a drama team, showed me how to deliver puppies, and even taught me to sing harmony and play the guitar. I felt enriched.

When I was 10 and playing minor hockey on frozen, outdoor rinks on the prairies, I have a distinct image of my Mother all bundled up standing beside Dad on the snow bank, clapping and cheering for me. Her presence screamed she backed me. Though she was likely freezing to death with a scarf covering most of her face and cheeks a bright red, she kept on hollering something. Those muffled and unclear noises were undoubtedly in praise of me. I felt supported.

At the end of 4th grade, I was invited to participate in an accelerated learning program – an enriching educational opportunity in every way. It would mean that I would say good-bye to my routine with friends and take the bus everyday across town for 4 years to attend the new school. Most parents would have simply made this decision for their kid. But no, I remember Mom trusting me saying, “you go for a walk and think about the pros and cons, and talk to God about it. Whatever you decide, we will stand behind you.” I will never forget the feeling of “wow, this is my decision”. Oh, the confidence it instilled. I felt significant.

As a teen, the DNA of her greatness continued to surface, as she would lay awake while Dad slept until her youngest son was home safe. It amazed me even then that she couldn’t rest until I was in. I often whispered through a partially open bedroom door, “You awake?” She would reply, “Yes, Honey,” where upon I would often sit on the end of their bed and talk to Mom in hushed tones about my evening. I felt secure.

Mom was notorious for hugging anyone who came into our house. Those hugs were mere leftovers of the barrage of embraces we willingly sustained living with her. She even welcomed in and loved the members of those religious sects that go door-to-door. I swear she hugged them too when they left. She still hugged all my friends that I brought home from college. I was hugged to death my whole life. I felt loved.

Finally, I remember Mom as a lady who lived what she believed. Her faith was not confined to Sunday mornings. The difference Mom loved to make in her world exploded every day of the week. It was like she either got her orders straight from God each morning or He was actually whispering in her ear about what to do next. What touched me most was our morning routine right through high school. I didn’t get out of the house without her talking to God about me. There’s nothing like a faith so real. I felt prayed for.

What should you do with my reminiscing? Learn with me. So many of the things Mom did for me pale beside what they did in me. Her actions shaped me. It is likely true for your mother too. Why not make it a Happy Mother’s Day by thanking your mother for the impact she had on you? After all, her DNA is in you.

“A wife and mother of noble character who can find? She watches over the affairs of her household. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise.” (Proverbs 31)

© Dr. Dave Currie – April 2011