Mother's Day 2020

Writers all over the world have waxed eloquently about their mothers and another mother’s day tribute probably won’t add much to the body of understanding about what makes Mother’s Day so meaningful to some people and less so to others. We always did a little something on Mother’s Day when I was growing up, mostly homemade cards and perhaps a few gifts. I once bought a cheap fishing pole for my mother because Mother’s Day and the opening of fishing season coincided that year. Mom wasn’t into fishing, but she had seemingly unlimited patience when it came to untangling fishing reels. Her patience with the task has always been a model for me. When our children presented me with some complicated mess that needed to be sorted out, I tried to remember my mother’s patience with fishing line. It helped a lot.

Motherhood didn’t come easily for our mom. After our parents married, mom didn’t get pregnant right away. Years passed. All of her sisters had children. She and my father became foster parents. The thought of saying good bye to the children was too painful for our mother and they adopted the first two children who were placed in their care. Then she did become pregnant. She gave birth to three. I’m the middle one of those. Then they adopted two more. If you are counting, that’s seven children that she and my father raised.

She also outlived two of her children, a pain that is nearly impossible to imagine, and she faced that pain with courage that continues to inspire me.

I suppose that my choice when I got married was influenced by having had such a wonderful mother. Whether it was by luck or wisdom will never be known, but I succeeded in marrying a woman who is a wonderful mother. She balanced work and being a parent in such a way that our children never doubted that they were loved and that their care was the highest priority of our family. Susan’s years of working in a preschool gave her the understanding and skill to guide our children through their early years. Her deep love enabled her to continue to be there for each stage of our children’s growing, including being a mother to two wonderful adult children.

I can go on and on with my tributes to mothers. Our son has married well and the joy of knowing that our grandchildren are being raised by a wonderful mother is an amazing gift. The recent restrictions that have come in attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus have put a great deal of additional work on families with children. With no school, parents have had to refine their skills and ways of thinking of their lives by becoming teachers. Our daughter-in-law has risen to that task with incredible creativity and skill. It has been amazing to watch her develop schedules, seek out educational resources, pursue distance relationships with teachers, all while juggling career and home.

Mother’s Day 2020, however, will always be in my memory as a very special day because it is the first Mother’s Day for our daughter as a mother. She lives in Japan, so it was Mother’s Day for her yesterday and we were able to connect over the computer and offer our greetings and celebrations. From the time she was a little girl, I saw qualities in our daughter that led me to believe that she would one day be an excellent mother. She showed such care and gentleness to pets and to her dolls and to other children. She was fascinated by young children. She named her dolls after real babies she met. When she became old enough, she was a superb babysitter, focusing her attention on the needs of the little ones and not distracted by her own concerns. When she married I expected that they would have children early in their marriage. But, as has been the case with other family members, parenthood didn’t come easily for our daughter and son-in-law. There were lots of medical test and procedures and it took years, but 10 months ago she gave birth to a son. The first few hours were very frightening. The baby was delivered by emergency c-section and was rushed to another hospital to the NICU while mother was being treated in the hospital where the surgery was performed. After a few days, however, mother and baby were reunited and their bond is wonderful to watch. We had the good fortune of being able to visit them in Japan within the first month. Rachel and our grandson were able to visit us here in South Dakota last October, so we have had some essential face time. The computer and video conferencing have enabled us to witness the growth of our grandson on a regular basis and we get to watch our daughter being a mother. It has been every bit as amazing and wonderful as I expected it would be. She is a natural mother and her husband is a superb father.

We chose a path in life that has not led to wealth, though we have enjoyed much privilege and have always had meaningful work and supportive employees. But when it comes to love, we have enjoyed great privilege. We were raised by wonderful, loving mothers. I am married to a great mother. We are blessed with grandchildren whose mothers are incredible.

I know that not all families are so blessed. I have worked with families where mothers have died at young ages and left the parenting to their partners. I have witnessed mothers who didn’t have the basic abilities of attachment and nurture that their children desperately needed. I have known stories of children who’s mothers simply weren’t able to provide what was needed. There are plenty of stories of abuse and neglect and addiction and every manner of illness that can sever the relationships that are so essential to the growth of children.

But I have been especially blessed. And today I give thanks for that blessing. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in my life.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!