Generally speaking, there is no person more responsible for who we are or become than our mothers.
There are the obvious reasons: they give us life, carry us for nine months, bring us into this world, and nurture and protect us throughout.
Now not all moms are perfect and many are far from it. They are, after all, human, with their own life story, full of their own hardships and challenges. But this simple fact is undeniable: without your mom, there is no you.
Recently I learned a friend lost her mom after a battle with cancer. Sadly, at my age, this is a story I hear more and more frequently. For those of you who have lost your mother, either recently or perhaps many years ago, I offer my deepest condolences. I can’t quite fathom the hole it would leave in your life and heart.
For the rest of us, I ask this:
When it comes to your mom, who is taking care of who?
For moms, I imagine it is perhaps instinctual and habitual to worry about your children. To always want to take care of them. To do things that will make their lives easier, to relieve a burden, to find ways to help in any way.
As a child, it is a likely outcome that when our parents age, we will worry more and more about them. Eventually, it will be our turn to take care of them. Unfortunately, we usually wait until there is some sort of health issue to jar us into this new reality.
But why wait?
Shouldn’t one of our primary goals in life be to try and balance our ledger as soon as we can? To relieve our moms of any worry and burden and replace it instead with joy and laughter? To find ways to repay our immense debt and do whatever we can to show our appreciation for giving us the greatest gift of all?
If I were being honest, I would have to admit that I have not always done what I can on this front. Thinking that weekly calls and occasional visits or trips were sufficient expressions of gratitude. They are not. They are woefully insufficient.
Recently my mom suffered a health scare — one that reminded us of the frailty of life. We are hopeful that she will make a full recovery. But it will take the time and support of our entire family to bring her back to where she was.
After she is back on her feet, it will also give us a second chance to turn the tables. As my brother said, “She has taken care of us her entire life. It’s our turn to take care of her.”
Is it your turn yet?