Our Mother

Our Mother

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Our Mother

My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart—a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.
~Mark Twain

“Mom, is it painful to have a baby?”

Mom smiles. She takes a carrot slice and hands it to me. I take it as a treasure because it comes from her.

She knows something we don’t know, our mother.

“Come with me,” she says, carrying a full laundry basket. “Help me hang these.” Diapers fill the clothesline in the backyard.

Teaching us responsibilities, our mother.

“Sit on the couch and you can hold him,” Mom says.

Mom places her new baby in my arms. A wave of elation streams through me as her baby coos in my embrace.

Teaching us the joys of motherhood, our mother.

We empty all the toys from the closet, remove the shelves and make a train complete with bunks, seating and sound effects. Her eyes look past the mess. She sees us, smiles and calls us to dinner.

Nurturing our imagination, our mother.

She comes home from a date with Dad. I pretend to sleep, leaving enough space in my eyes to see them tuck my blankets and hug each other.

Making us feel safe, our mother.

A vegetable garden, an apple tree, a pear tree and some pink petunias brighten our backyard.

“You get to pick the green beans and hoe the garden today!” Mom says.

Get to? I accept the privilege with honor.

Teaching us the joys of working hard and making it seem fun, our mother.

I bring my first baby home from the hospital. “Look,” Mom says as she rubs lotion on my little girl’s arm and wraps her in a blanket. She hands my baby to me. “You’ll be a good mother,” she says.

A positive attitude (wishful thinking perhaps), our mother.

Kneeling in church on Sunday, I see a beautiful new baby held by her mother. Tears fill my eyes as I am reminded of the baby I recently lost. Mom sees the hurt. I did not know love would hurt so much. Mom touches my arm and sighs.

“Let’s go to a festival today!”

Finding some joy in times of sorrow, our mother.

My husband’s mother dies at midnight. I wake my mother to tell her. We help the hospice nurse and say goodbye.

“Let’s put some coffee on,” Mom says. We bake chocolate chip cookies.

She knows what it is like to lose someone special.

Supportive in times of need, our mother.

Mom sits at Dad’s bedside. He is weak and dying. “He likes Cream of Wheat.” She carefully spoons it into his mouth. She turns him and gently kisses him goodnight.

Selfless acts of love, commitment to family, our mother.

It’s a cold January morning. She makes pancakes and sausages. We visit with enthusiasm.

“Who’s having this baby anyway?” she laughs.

She knows my husband and I will soon know the joy of being grandparents.

She will be a great-grandma, our mother.

Is it painful to have a baby?

WOW is it ever! The pain and the joy are in our hearts. Our children are our hearts walking outside our bodies.

Thank you for answering with a smile, our mother.

~Sandra R. Bishop

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