“I love you to the moon and back!” (from Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney)
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:18, 19
I am a child of the 1950s. I tell the story often of traveling the hot and dusty Delta—in cars without air conditioning or seatbelts—accompanying my mother who wrote feature stories for The Commercial Appeal, the Delta-Democrat Times and The Clarion-Ledger. She was not fretting over my perception of women at all as she dragged me along. She just had no other options on those days. She may have thought, “I can’t wait for Marilyn to be in school,” but I don’t think she did. Educational television had not been invented. Neither had video games. A doll and a “Little Golden Book” were about all I had to pass the time while Mama conducted an interview. I did not feel neglected. I was very proud to be my mother’s daughter, and there was never a doubt in my mind that I was a much loved child.
I see how hard my daughter works, and I imagine her daughter, Marilyn Wilton Bailey, will view her mother’s career a lot like I viewed my mother’s. I felt included, and I was fine with that.
The mission of a mother has really not changed in thousands of years despite the revolutionary cultural changes swirling around us. Mothers communicate messages to their children without ever speaking a word. And those messages frame their view of themselves, of others, and the role—or lack of a role—God plays in all of life. William Ross Wallace had it right when he wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” That is a powerful thought in these chaotic times.
Amy Glass, a blogger I never heard of until this past January, wrote a piece called, “Why I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry.” It created quite a stir across the mainstream media with many applauding her thoughts and many furiously disputing her view that women who choose to be wives and mothers are simply settling for “average.” Google her and read the article—not to be angry, but to realize the world our children and grandchildren are inheriting is not the one we Baby Boomers remember. Never has the role of “mom” (or Grandmother) had more potential or value or challenge.
One thing I have discovered in my checkered life is that mothering is so not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every child owns a different part of your heart. There is no retirement once you sign on and the benefits are, from time to time, invisible altogether. It is a marathon sort of endeavor because, even if you try, you can never turn off the overwhelming concern for everything that affects these offspring. Those babies are forever designated “my children”—whether they are struggling with their peers on the playground, having a mid-life crisis of their own, or blaming you for anything that isn’t okay in their lives. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.
I have a son and a daughter who mean the world to me. I also acquired three daughters I call my “bonus babies” when I married their father six years ago. I think I understand ‘adoption’ since Ashley, Jill, Natalie and I have forged an “adoptive” relationship. They were blessed to have had the love and example of a wonderful mother who taught them every important lesson they needed as wives and mothers themselves. It is notable that she lives on in them, in their values and the way they are wives and mothers to their own. My role in their lives is easy.
You will see adoption presented often in this Mother’s Day issue. After all, you and I and every believer in this fallen world are incredibly blessed to have been adopted into the family of a gracious Heavenly Father. That particular adoption totally changes every aspect of our future—for all eternity. I warn you ahead of time that you might just need a Kleenex here and there. Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. You are not seeing things. The cover does indeed say Mississippi Christian Living. This is a long overdue change since our reach encompasses the entire state and has for a while. More to come. Look for us—in Tupelo, Starkville, and everywhere! www.MSChristianliving.com.