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Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Christmas Tribute to My Mother

Every year at this time, everyone’s thoughts turn to the people we love. We buy gifts and cards, letting them know just how much we appreciate them. I was thinking that this year I would write something a little more special for the most important person in my life, my Mother.
Mom...enjoying a moment.
My Mother with her Granddaughter & Great Granddaughter 

Whether you believe that God created Mothers or whether you feel that Man is a product of evolution, Mothers are incredible individuals! Mothers know what their children are thinking and feeling before their children have to tell them. They are a shoulder to cry on and a “rock” to lean on. Mothers are capable of incredible compassion and consequently, of having their hearts broken. What makes a Mother “special” is patience, understanding, tolerance, a certain amount of discipline and of course- LOVE. Mothers have a “special” bond with their children that I don’t think anyone, including a Father, can quite understand. Yes, Fathers love their children just as much but there is a certain “something” that a mother seems to have for her children.

My Mother has had a level of patience that is totally foreign to me. Her years of patience with me alone, have been part of what so endears her to me. When I think of the amount of patience that I’ve needed with certain people in my life, I wish that I could have summoned half of the patience with them, that my Mother had summoned with me. A Mother’s patience allows a child to make the mistakes in life that a child needs to make so that they learn and grow. That being the case, the amount of patience my Mother needed for me should have allowed me to “learn” enough to be as smart as Einstein and “grow” enough to be as tall as Shaq. Her patience should be considered legendary. When I think back, over the years, there are certain times that I know that my brothers and I tried the patience of my mother well past the breaking point and yet, she never broke. Oh yes, we were punished, but we never once felt the she didn’t love us. I know what everyone’s thinking... a little bad behavior shouldn’t change the way a Mother feels about her children, and you’re right. I’m not inferring that my Mother is special because she still loved us even though we misbehaved. I’m inferring that my Mother is “special” simply because she is my Mother.

Understanding and tolerance, borne out of experience, wisdom and the teachings of her Mother, are also her indispensable traits. These traits are what she passes along in the hopes that her children become compassionate and humble individuals. We live in an imperfect world. Compassion allows us to be charitable to the people who have less than us, the homeless and the disadvantaged. Tolerance gives us the courage to accept the people who are different, people of a different religion or individuals in the LGBT community. Our Mothers know that the world is made up of all kinds of people and that’s what makes EVERY INDIVIDUAL “special”, including their own children. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, which was a time of incredible prejudice towards African-Americans. I remember specifically, my Mother teaching me that African-Americans deserved the same respect that anyone else deserved. She NEVER let up on that continual dose of acceptance that I needed to hear. I grew up in a neighborhood not known for its acceptance of ANYONE different from us. For years, I remember having to fight the “pressures” from my friends to conform to the same prejudices as theirs. Unfortunately, there were times that I succumbed to their “pressure”, times that I am now ashamed of. Yet, with the Mother that I had, I was fortunate enough to finally understand just how right she was! These are the moments when a Mother’s strength AND perseverance become indispensable to a young, impressionable child. I thank you, Mom!

As this Christmas arrives, take the time to let your Mother know just how “special” she was AND is in your life. If your Mother has, unfortunately passed, take the time to let your children know just how “special” she was to you. Tell them how her influence has made you the person you are and how it is making them the individuals they are. We only have this one life to live and it’s our Mother’s influence that helps us become the individuals that we become. Mom, thank you for being you! Thank you for your understanding and tolerance. Thank you for your continued lessons in life as well as your patience. Mom, thank you for making me the person that I am.
Merry Christmas, I Love you Mom.