In the past few days I have been witness to one of the most endearing and heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen. No human was involved, but the tenderness and sadness was just as real. One of my dad’s cows gave birth to a stillborn calf. That fact alone was sad, but the scene that has played out since really set me to thinking about how a true mother comes to be. That cow has faithfully stayed beside her dead calf, defending it against not only my father trying to remove it, but other predators coming to investigate. She would walk away for only a few minutes before returning to lie beside her lost infant. My heart broke for this poor mother, even though she is an animal. Her pain in the loss of her child was evident through her vigilance and dedication.
Animals, I believe, are either born with the natural instinct to care for their young or they are not. This is found to be true when you see a calf abandoned resulting in the need to be bottle fed. Humans, on the other hand, I feel have to be nurtured and taught this love throughout their young lives. I honestly don’t think that girls are born with the instinct to be a great mom. Yes, we are engineered by the Master to have the capabilities to care for our children, but I feel that it is the responsibility of the birth mother and other women in the family to teach a young girl what it is to love something beyond themselves.
Any woman that chooses to take care of their own children, adopt another, or take in a family member’s child already knows the love in their heart required to be a great mom. Loving a child is a blessing from the Lord and caring for one is a responsibility and honor that He gives us.
Looking back on my own childhood and my experiences with the women in my life I can honestly say I have been blessed beyond belief. First and foremost I was given the best mother who ever walked this earth. She taught me how to love from the very beginning of my understanding. My mom has always been there for me no matter the circumstance, she has stood by my side. She gave me discipline me when I needed it, taught me how to do chores in order to prepare me for caring for my own home, showed me around a kitchen, and gave me guidance in the care of a baby. Beyond that she has taught me that loving the Lord above all others is key to a happy life. That life may not always be easy, but it will be a life worth living. When I was little I used to say that I wanted to be a mom when I grew up because of the example she had set for me. In my eyes then and now becoming a mom as great as she is would be the ultimate achievement.
There are other women in my life that have been great inspirations to me either through word or deed. Through their struggles and joys they have taught me how to love a child with every fiber of my being and to enjoy every moment. My Granny has always been and continues to be a great source of joy and love for our entire family. She has overcome many obstacles in her nearly eighty years of life and continues to strive ahead. Over the years I have soaked up every story, every memory, every word of advice she has spoken to me. She is the lone sibling left out of several children. A few years ago her remaining sister passed away. This sister also happened to be the one who had cared for my granny as a child so she was especially attached to her. At the funeral I watched my granny’s face transform from that of an older woman to that of a small child mourning the loss of her big sister. She has taught me numerous lessons and at that time she made me realize that no matter your age you should always embrace the memories of your childhood for they have made us what we are.
I have an aunt who has had to endure the loss of two of her children. I watched her grieve their deaths, mourning openly for her babies. Through such a devastating blow she has maintained her faith, her love of the Lord is evident in all she does and she has a smile that lights a room. She has taught me that even in the face of such heartbreaking loss the Lord is still in control and that He is there to comfort us in our darkest hour.
I have a close family friend who also lost her eight year old son. His death was the result of an accidental gun shot. Her pain was immense and the uphill struggle almost unbearable, but she made it, she held her family together. Now these many years later she has taken on the responsibility of caring for her grandson and loves him as though he is her own. A while back I was talking with her and she told me that she felt like her grandson was the answer to so many prayers that had gone up for her during the loss of her son. When her grandson reached his ninth birthday, she rejoiced. She has taught me to never give up, no matter how many obstacles are thrown in your path.
As a mother of four boys I have often thought about what it will be like to welcome in their future wives. I always think of my mother-in-law at these times and it makes me appreciate her even more. She gave me her son and entrusted me to care for him and love him. I know how much I love my boys and so I understand her sacrifice. She has taught me a great lesson in trust and for that I am grateful.
My mamaw, Edith McKinney, passed away when I was just a young girl, but I was blessed to have her in my life for that short time. Though I was only a child I can still remember the lessons she taught me. Mamaw giggled with every sentence, even if that sentence was full of discipline. She was a humble, beautiful woman with an enormous heart who could cook like no other. She could have probably made a boot taste good. Even at her darkest hours in her battle with cancer she hid her pain and found humor. She taught me to be content, be happy with what you have, and as the mother of thirteen children she taught me the love of a big family. That big family was her life, and she lived it to the fullest.
All of my aunts and other women in my life have impacted how I mother my children. All of them have played a role in teaching me what it truly is to be a great mother and for that I say “thank you” from the bottom of my heart. In my eyes there are no words that I could speak that would do justice to the appreciation I feel for each and every one of them.
It doesn’t have to be Mother’s Day to honoryour mom.
I send all of my love and gratitude to the great women in my life…thank you for your guidance, sacrifice, and dedication to building this girl’s future.