As I started working on this column this past week, I knew I needed to write about mothers since it is Mother’s Day. You write about mothers on Mother’s Day. I don’t have a specific point to make, but I do have a few rambling thoughts about moms.
First, mommas are made for hugs. Growing up, I got hugs from my daddy. They were good. But, when playing out in the yard, if I fell and got hurt, I didn’t run inside and look for daddy. I went straight for momma. She would hug me, check out the boo-boo, treat it, dry my tears, and send me back on my way outside to play. As an adult, the hugs didn’t happen as often, as I was out on my own. But there was still that special feeling getting a hug from momma, no matter when it was.
Next, there are times that everyone needs a momma. As it is with so many things, you don’t really realize how special something, or someone is, until they are gone. My mother passed away over twenty years ago. And there have been plenty of times since then I could have used one of those hugs, a sympathetic ear, or an encouraging word from her.
About a month after my mother passed away, I caught a bad cold. I was sitting in my car, feeling miserable, outside the pharmacy, after getting some cold medicine. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to call Momma and tell her how sick I am, so I can get some pity.” Then it hit me. I can’t do it anymore, she’s gone.
Another thought about mothers is simple – your momma will always be your momma. She is just as concerned about you when you are forty as she was when you were five. Sometimes she is more concerned. As a little child, your hurts are that little boo-boo, or some hurt feelings from friend. Mommas can help take care of those. The hurts of an adult can be much deeper. The sickness that is life threatening. The broken relationship that is life changing. Mothers may often feel that that they are helpless in such situations, but they are no less concerned. Because a momma is always a momma.
The next rambling thought about mothers may sound a little strange, but I think you will understand what I mean. Sometimes a momma is not necessarily the momma. This relates to the previous thought that everyone, sometimes needs a mother. The problem is sometimes that mother isn’t there. But there is a grandmother, an aunt, or a sister who fills in the gap and provides that motherly influence. Or it may just be a particular lady who cares, and is there. It may be that special Sunday School teacher who is there and is faithful every Sunday, to teach those little ones and hug them as they head out the door after class. It may be a school teacher whose caring and concern may provide some of the vital maternal care that the student is missing. Or it could the neighbor who opens up her home and provides a warm and cozy retreat for that child that needs it.
As previously mentioned, there have been times over the past twenty years that I needed a momma. No one can ever take the place of my mother. But I am thankful that there have been a couple of older ladies (I know, I’d better be careful when I write that) in my life during this period who have helped fill that gap. Mrs. Lea was daddy’s special “lady friend” for the last several years of his life until he passed away six years ago. She was, and still is, a special friend to me. Terri and I visit with her from time to time. When we leave, I always get one of those momma-type hugs. Terri’s mother, Micki Cottle, also has been there, providing the encouragement, concern and compassion that can only come from a mother’s heart. And you are never too old to need that from time to time.
Enough with the rambling thought about mothers. While writing this column, I realized there actually was a specific point that I want to make. And it’s the same one I’ve made the past few years on Mother’s Day. It is, when it’s too late, it’s too late. You may be busy with other obligations today, and they may be legitimate. It may be a hassle to make that connection with your mother. But I can tell you that there will be a time down the road when you will be glad you did. And if you don’t, you’ll wish you had.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.