By Alyce Faye Bragg
For the Saturday Gazette-Mail
Author unknown (sent in by Rosa Blake, of Frametown)
If I had the power to turn back the clock,
Go back to the house at the end of the block —
The house was “home” when I was a kid,
I know that I would love it more now than I did.
If I could go back there at my mother’s knee,
And hear once again all the things she told me,
I’d listen as I never listened before,
For she knew so well what life had in store.
And all the advice that my dad used to give —
His voice I’ll remember as long as I live;
But it didn’t seem really important then;
What I’d give to live it all over again.
And what I would give for the chance I once had
To do so much more for my mother and dad;
To give them more joy and a little less pain;
A little more sunshine — a little less rain.
But the years roll on and we cannot go back,
Whether we were born in a mansion or shack;
But we can start right now — in the hour that’s here,
To do something more for the ones we hold dear.
And since time in its flight is traveling so fast,
Let’s not spend it regretting that which is past;
But let’s make tomorrow a happier day
By doing our “good unto others” — today.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Mothers are possibly the most “taken for granted” people in the human race. They are expected to be available at all times, know the answer to every question and dispense love, band-aids, and cookies — (preferably homemade chocolate chip).
Even before that, they are indispensable to tiny babies. Of course these babies take their mothers for granted; the only thing they know is the need for warm milk, soft blankets and a loving shoulder to snuggle into while they are rocked to sleep.
Mothers become skillful at bathing slippery little ones, changing diapers, wiping drippy noses and other body parts, and tedious toilet training. They become expert in dodging rejected baby food, and skilled in wiping strained spinach from baby’s face, their own face, high chair tray and floor.
The most important part of a child’s training is generally conducted by a mother, and that is “bringing up a child in the way that they should go.” I know that there are many fathers who are just as conscientious as mothers in this essential duty, but, as a rule, children spend more of their early days with a mother. By the time a toddler learns to lisp, “Now I lay me down to sleep” to “God bless Mommy and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle and Aunt …,” the mother is teaching.
By her word and example, she is leading that child into the way of salvation. This early training will awaken the tender mind to spiritual values, and can determine the future pathway of the adult.
It doesn’t take long for a mother to learn the basics of nursing. A mother can distinguish at once a “mad cry” from a “hurt cry” and know whether to rush to the rescue. “Boo-boos” are common to toddlers, and skinned knees and elbows come with frequent bicycle wrecks. Boxes of band-aids disappear as quickly as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Eventually the band-aids give way to needed balm for heartaches (a mother is expected to provide that also) plus a shoulder to cry on, and no advice please, but I will have a few chocolate chip cookies, if you don’t mind. It is during those turbulent adolescent years that a mother is really taken for granted.
Mothers are badly needed during this time, even if that teenager seems to reject with one hand and cling with the other. It is a difficult time for mothers also, but even more so for that fledgling who is taking tentative steps toward adulthood. It is taken for granted that a mother will still be there with open arms after an adolescent blow-up — preferably with chocolate chip cookies.
Mothers make it through this rocky phase, and the children eventually grow into adults. The need of a mother seems to grow stronger after the babies begin to arrive. “Mom, can you watch little Oscar while wife and I go to town?” It is taken for granted that grandmas are overjoyed to baby-sit those lovable little grandchildren. The funny thing is, most grandmas are.
The circle turns, and our daughters become mothers who are experiencing the same things that we did. It is at this point that we are no longer taken for granted. “Mom, I didn’t realize what you went through when you were young!” It is their turn to be taken for granted as we watch them guide their children through each stage.
The circle turns again, and our children become grandparents. Their children are turning to them for help and support, while many times our own mother is requiring the care that we once gave to our babies.
This phase is over for me, as my own mother is gone. But I remember … We are again bathing, dressing and supporting her as she takes baby steps. We tuck her into bed, spread the covers over her and listen as she prays, “If I should die before I wake, I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take — now if I die, I want you to be happy.” The memories continue.
She does not take me for granted, but thanks me gratefully for each little thing I do for her. Although her mind wanders, and her short-term memory is forever gone, she is still a joy to care for. She always had a sharp sense of humor, and still has an answer for everything.
Time has made a complete circle, and the mother who once washed my face, combed my hair and dressed me is now my baby. I do the things for her that she once did for me, and am thankful that God gives me the strength to do so.
I cried out to her the other day, “Oh, Mom, why did you have to get old?” She answered simply, “It is God’s plan.” I still miss her so.
I can think of no more fulfilling job than to simply be a mother. Mothers are not taken for granted by God, but are highly honored. We are born nurturers; the heart of the home. May God bless all mothers everywhere, and may He give us the fortitude to live true to Him, and to our families.
Contact Alyce Faye Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 2556 Summers Fork Road, Ovapa, WV 25164.