Moms, we’re never done

I wish you joy this Mother’s Day, for we all have mothers even if we don’t have the role ourselves. To fellow moms, consider yourself hugged. Adoptive, biological, fostering: we’re in a sisterhood of sorts. Hang in there.

My mother was in failing health the last few years of her life. She was always a practical woman, and in those last years she kept me posted on the business details that go along with putting one’s affairs in order. “I don’t worry about you. You’re all set,” she’d say to me. I must have heard her say that half a dozen times in her last months on Earth. By which she meant: you have a family, a husband who loves you, and the wolf isn’t at the door. All true. Her repetitions of you’re all set puzzled me a bit. I know, Mom. I’m fine.

Only after she had died did I realize why she kept repeating “you’re all set.” She wasn’t trying to convince me. She was trying to convince herself. Only then did I realize how much I have that attitude toward my own children.

They’re grown. They see to their own support. Those who sought higher education earned it. My son the vet even came back from war in one piece. My husband and I no longer have any dependents in the eyes of the IRS aside from each other. Talk about all set.

Except I’m not buying it. Part of me will never just turn the kids over to God and let Him work His will in their lives. I’ll always worry and wonder and want to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. I try hard not to let that show – OK, moderately hard – but my internal maternal alarm will always be set to go off as along as my kids and I are still breathing.

God Almighty is sovereign, of course – but if He didn’t want me to worry, He shouldn’t have entrusted me with children. So there.

My Mom was never clingy or nagging. She kept her worries to herself, except when I was driving. (She was convinced I’d die on 128 enroute to the Cape to see her. “Call me when you get home” were the last words I heard from her as every visit ended.) Only when she knew her days were numbered did she let me in on how concerned she’d been all my life. Not because of any ill fortune, to be sure; she and I both knew that I’ve been blessed beyond measure in every important way. She was Mom, though, and in some ways moms never let go.

Mine didn’t. I won’t.

Ignatius Press - Catholic Books

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