by Bill Denton
"But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children" (1 Thess. 2:7).
She loved you before you ever arrived into the world. During the months when you were being formed, she remained keenly aware of your existence. She knew the moment when you had grown big enough that she could feel you move, struggling to get your bearings and take on the world. Sometimes you made her sick. Sometimes you made her tired. For nine months, you interfered with everything she did, and you were the priority of her life.
When you were finally born, she thought, perhaps, the burden of parenthood would become easier, but she realized that you needed her constant attention and loving care. She held you tenderly in her arms and sang soft, sweet music to calm your frets and pains. Her sleepless nights were frequent, and her days were many times filled with a happy weariness.
Fevered brows and stomach aches, angry cries and pouted lips were her common reward. Her worried mind was eased only by the doctor's report that you would soon be fine. She fed you, cleaned you, comforted you, catered to you like no other person could or would. You taught her what real sacrifice and love mean.
She watched your first tentative steps, ready to catch you before you fell. She let you try until you could go on your own, then tried to keep up as you learned to fly alone. Your bumps and bruises were always evident to her watchful eye.
As you grew, she found a new source of pride and satisfaction, better than anything she, herself, had accomplished. You were her pride and joy, the light of her life, her son, her daughter.
When you got yet older, you didn't seem to think you needed her as you once did. The time you gave her was small compared to what you gave to the bright things of life. Your budding life arrived at about the same time that hers began to dim, though the overlap may have continued for years. You grew strong, brave, smart. You were making a place for yourself in the world.
She would remember the day she met that special person who would become your partner in life. She remembered because to her it was a reminder of your very own beginnings.
As years passed, she was the one you visited on holidays. She was the one who sent you cards on your birthday, your anniversary, on Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day, and even Halloween. She did so, because you were still her treasure, her joy. She aged slowly. One day, the bright eyes and bouncing hair were a bit more dull. She got tired easily. You noticed one day that she even asked for smaller sacks at the grocery store. Her back hurt to carry the big ones any more.
She left one day. Oh, you expected it, but when it happened, you weren't ready. The moment she was gone you thought of a thousand things you wanted to say, to ask, to talk about. You fought the guilt of things you could have done, but didn't, could have said, but didn't, time you could have spent, but didn't. But she didn't mind. She brought you into the world to give you a life of your own, and when you lived it, you made her life complete.
Who can say what God's best blessing is in this world? This I do know: God's blessing of a loving, caring mother is at least one of those at the top of the list. Say her name and watch the memories flood. Mother, Momma, Mom. She was, is, a gift from God.