Barnes: Celebrating the moms
There are few sights as refreshing and joyous as watching young children at play.
Especially when they don’t know an adult is enjoying their antics.
One youngster, perhaps about age 4, pedals her small tricycle furiously around obstacles, and when the inevitable tumble occurs, scoots noisily and tearfully into the house to be comforted by her mother.
The two boys, both a year or two older, are trying hard to achieve some ingrained, genetic definition of boyhood. They play boisterously and with careless abandon until one falls or is pushed or is cleverly outmaneuvered by the other. Then he too seeks mother’s solace, albeit with more boyish finesse. (You know, he hides the tears until he reaches his mother’s skirt, then sniffles quietly with manly control so the “villain” cannot gloat at his predicament.)
It is a few hours later when I reflect on how the responsive, caring mother must feel about her beautiful children. And an old poem surfaces to my consciousness:
“Mother, may I go out to swim?”
Yes, my darling daughter:
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb
And don’t go near the water.”
Down deep, Mom likely knows that whatever protective wall she builds to surround her beautiful children will someday be breeched as they challenge life’s waves. Hopefully she will have prepared them to be strong swimmers. That is the best she can do.
Each youngster is forever caught between two currents while struggling to cope with new situations: the surging adventure of the new, and the calmer, safer current of the old.
T he strong current of change means risk; the old current means safety, just like mother’s skirt.
Most mothers know that their children will grow and develop to become their own person. They will learn and progress toward maturity in their own way. She knows that her children must grow away from the comfort of her arms. She also realizes that there will always be — as there is for her — the compulsion for them to return to the old and safe ways when they confront new situations and difficult challenges.
The behavior of a child isn’t too different from what we exhibit as adults. We push ourselves into new adventures, yet are continually pulled backward toward the safety of the old and familiar.
Sometimes we retreat in order to gather strength to push ourselves forward into the new and unfamiliar. Often it is this strength of inner resources that enables us to attack difficult challenges with spirit and grace.
The children I watched will one day walk without their mother’s loving hand.
Today the foundation of their steps is being laid.
With love and care.
I wish all children were so fortunate.
Thank you, moms.