The women who have 'it"

MomYou can sense it from across the room.

There is something about them that is universally true. Something that you can see in the way they live their lives - that we can hear in their voices and feel in their touch. There is something that comes from deeply within their hearts. It's something that is unique to the women of the world who have become mothers that put them in a very special place in our lives. And while it's difficult to describe, it is something we all understand. There is nothing quite as special as a mother's love. 

I've been thinking about my mother a lot this year. Probably because I've now lived longer than she did. My mom passed away shortly before her 58th birthday - over 30 years ago - when I was just becoming a father at the age of 25. I have missed her so much since then.  There are so many talks I wish we could have had and experiences I wish we could have shared and celebrated. I'd have been so proud to introduce her to her grandchildren. I know she would have loved each of them unconditionally. 

So what's the "it" that separates mothers from the rest of us? I'm sure I'm not the first man to wonder about that and I'm definitely not going to be the one with the answer. You only have to experience being a husband to a mother for a short time to know that the romantic love you share with her falls to a distant second place behind the motherly love she has for her children. Don't even try to move your status up the ladder with her. It's simply not going to happen. That's not how moms are wired. I wish my dad had told me about that. It would have helped me make sense out of so many things that got strained between me and my kid’s mom. 

me and momLaurel Francillia Brooks was my mom. When I think about her I don't think about a gourmet cook, but there were always delicious meals prepared for us three times a day. I don't think of her as a career woman, but she supplemented the family income as a grocery clerk and cafeteria worker. I don't think of mom as a community maven or socialite, but she was there for our scout troops, little league teams, Sunday school classes, and more. I know that many of my childhood friends and neighbors would say that they remember her as the other mother in the neighborhood. One that was prepared to encourage and support them just as she did me. 

Some people would probably call my mom ordinary - but only if they hadn't met her. And they would be so very wrong. My mother was so much more than ordinary. She was an amazing woman with remarkable faith. She shared her love unconditionally and her family, immediate and extended, was her world. I have to strain to remember her without a smile on her face and in her voice. Mom and DadShe was my dad's best friend. In fact, I'm sure that it was a "broken heart" that took my dad from us because he missed my mom so much after she passed. 

As the years went by I've seen the "it" emerge from the other mother's in my life. I've been married to two of them, both wonderful moms in their own special ways. I have two daughters-in-law who have had the "it" come forward in their lives as they gave birth to my grandchildren and began life’s journey with their sons and daughters. And now, my own little girl is preparing to become a mom herself. I've already seen the glow that precedes the "it' that will soon be part of her life. 

No... I don't know what "it" is, but I know it's what makes today worth celebrating. It's the secret ingredient that makes mother's day special and a day that we can reflect on and remember the relationships we've had with our moms. 

When I consider the best advice that my mom gave me, I have to admit that it's a struggle to remember. I don't think my mom was much of an advice giver. Instead she lived every day of her life as a positive example. She gave her smile and love to anyone who needed it or would be happy to receive it. That was her gift and her message. For 25 years I was fortunate to receive her love and experience "it" from her each time we were in the same room.

I dedicate this to all the mothers that have been part of my life, and to all those who have been part of yours.

Happy Mother’s Day.