Most (if not all) women are nurturers by nature. For some, however, it comes more naturally, than it does for others. From as early as I can remember, my mother has always reminisced about how much she loved being pregnant. I can’t ever recall a time in which she complained—there’s a difference between whining and simply making mention—about morning sickness, or gaining weight, or a difficult labor. My mother was truly excited to become a mom, all three times.
Knowing that she was genuinely looking forward to meeting me when I was in her womb, made me feel that I was really special to her. When she said to me, “I loved being pregnant with you”, and that was more than a handful of times, I believed her. I was convinced. Being a nanny for a few years and having always been around lots of kids most of my life, I’ve met a lot of moms. Most of them were great in their own way, but a lot of them were very cold. I’ve witnessed many times mothers cursing at their children, hitting them in anger, and even showing contempt towards their children through body language. Just plain mean, harsh, unloving, not affectionate.
I knew my mom loved me because she was gentle with me in her caresses. Her whole demeanor, her spirit, has always been delicate. “She protected me because she loved me”. We all do it. We all protect the things we hold dear to our hearts; we have our fingers so tightly gripped around our most prized possessions, and we’re selfish about it. My mother was truly a “mama lion” and it showed: she loved her cubs and went out of her way to make sure no harm was done to her precious babes.
She fought to keep us pure. It still amazes me to this day. What percentage of mothers still do that now? Protect the innocence of their daughters (and sons). If we were watching a movie or television show with unforeseen explicit content, we were told to either cover our eyes, ears, or mom would fast forward the scene entirely. She knew what was appropriate for our ages and what was not (which nowadays seems to be unheard of). She knew what would cause spiritual damage. Vital. I’ll never forget what she said this one particular evening. Me, my brother, and my mom (and I’m sure my sister, although I’m not certain) were walking on Kingsbridge Road in The Bronx. I remember seeing flyers with pornographic images scattered all over the sidewalk, and I probably blushed (I was very young). I’m unsure as to whether it was before or after I had already seen the flyers, but my mother said (to all of us, but sort of directed more towards my brother): “Don’t look down. Don’t look at that. Those kinds of images stay in your mind forever”. Call it naive or “square”, say what you will, but my mother was guarding her kin. At the time I didn’t think much of it because I wasn’t yet at an age in which sexual things were of any interest. Now, looking back as an adult woman, that was among the most heroic things my mother had ever done: warned me.
Mom knew that there was both good, beautiful things in this world and evil, ugly things too. She was well-aware that not everyone could be trusted, be it strangers or even family members. Covering our bodies with towels as we changed when we were done playing in the sprinklers was a no brainer for mom. One may think, “what’s the big deal? They’re just little kids, they can be naked just for a second while they change. No one’s looking at them”. To that, my mother’s response would be, “that would not only be ideal, but only the case in a sinless world”. She knew. She just knew. Mom was so wise, and through her wisdom (that she would give credit to God for even having), her children were set apart.
There is something incredibly untouchable about a child of God. A child in both the literal and figurative sense. A person who belongs to The Lord is therefore a child of His, and is, in fact, set apart. Mom was sneered at, and so was I, for that. There’s never a shortage of the “oh so you’re holy now, huh?” murmuring. My mother, knowing that her children were “watching”, led by example and exuded humility. Always, always, always remained humble before God. Constantly dependent on Him, forever hungry for His Word, always in love with her Savior. But it was never just “for show”. It’s almost as if mom knew that her faith would eventually, one day, empower her children. She had an inner knowledge that her example would be sought after and praised. The irony of it all is that, she doesn’t even realize she set such a righteous example. She simply lived out God’s standards, which essentially laid the foundation for when it was time to set hers. She truly is, the more I think about it, a vessel of God. His spirit actually lives in her, and she’s merely (if you can picture it) almost carrying around this Holy Ghost with her everywhere she goes. It warms me, it makes me smile. Her imprint, her mark, has already been made on the Earth. The legacy she will leave is simple: she allowed God to be God through her.
That’s where the magic is. My hero, how I strive to be more and more like you everyday, mom. You’re truly remarkable.