Honoring Mom

Only a handful of times in 16 years have I chosen to write about something other than mom on this day. There is something compelling about Mother’s Day that demands compliments, memories and something the Bible calls, “honor.”  

Honor could take the form of a tribute. Memories are all that some of us have when Mother’s Day comes. I suppose it becomes as bittersweet as the wave I used to see as I drove her grandchildren out of her driveway after a visit. Honor actually means so much more.

Honor has to do with the way we treat those we respect and admire. It begins with the pause in our thoughts when we begin pondering what they mean to us. As we stop thinking about our day and our plans and our hopes, we make room for her words, her actions and her love. It doesn’t take long to remember the amazing things mom has been doing for a lifetime; the examples flood our senses.

I have written often about my memories of mom washing dishes by hand while the rest of the family laid around the living room watching network television. The distraction is the only thing that has changed during the years since; we may have phones or game controllers in our hands but too many times we are content to let her work while we play. Mom never complained about that. It was like she was glad to work if it allowed us time to play. It was her gift.

Honoring mom means getting up to help. It means showing and expressing appreciation for her hard work. Telling her while she is working is better than sending a card once a year. Appreciation fuels the love that a mother expresses. She will love anyway but appreciation makes it more pleasant for her.

Honoring also means speaking affectionately about her love. It involves a lack of criticism or complaining. We show no honor when we make it sound like we would rather be allowed to do whatever we want instead of appreciating her rules or requirements.

Honor is actually a monetary term; think honorarium. One of the most difficult things I have ever attempted is to succeed at giving my mother something without her objecting. “You don’t have to do that,” she would say. “I can finish these,” she would object as I tried sheepishly to help. The only day of the year that I got a smile without a protest is Mother’s Day. Casts of the palm of my hand, drawings on a card, flowers, or breakfast in bed had the ability to change the one-way direction of her love. Buying something, making something, or doing something for her demonstrates honor.

There is no love like a mother’s love. Her hugs, her smiles, her words and her loving actions to serve and nurture make us better in fundamental ways. I carry her best traits because I admired them and I honor her by imitating them. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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