Song of an average mother


Celebrations, Life around home / Sunday, May 12th, 2013

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of a mother who couldn’t.

Her name was Barb. For seven years she yearned for a child, prayed and agonized and beat on heaven’s door. WHY CAN’T I HAVE ONE, ONE OF MY OWN?

He gave her seven, and the second she named Shari.

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of a mother who didn’t.

She never had a child. The world became her baby, and she rocked it. She fed it warm soup and wise words while the dark closed in around her. Her name was Teresa, but you know what they called her? Mother.

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of a mother who wouldn’t.

Her name was Klara. Come of old peasant stock, she married a twice-widowed man and faithfully tended his two children. She birthed six babies, and lost four of them painfully, to diphtheria and measles. A devoted mother, quiet and affectionate, she attended church regularly with her children, kept house, cooked meals. She would not live to see her son’s career, nor the grief he carried for losing her. His name was Adolph Hitler.

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of a mother who shouldn’t.

Married to her cousin, she gave birth to child she knew she could not keep, a child born with a death sentence. But when she saw that handsome little face, like one the stars had kissed, she simply could not let him go. At the risk of harsh legal action against herself and her son, she tried to keep him: hushed his cries, kept him hidden away in back rooms, pretended he did not exist—and when he became too big and lusty for such subterfuge, she gave him up of her own free will, left him for another woman to raise. His name was Moses.

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of a mother who can’t.

Her name is Shari. Most days her motherhood looks less like “Raising the Next Jim Elliot” and more like “Dick and Jane Gone Haywire, Sally and Spot Still Missing.” When she sings around the house she hopes the neighbors are listening, but at least once a day she speaks words she hopes they miss. She worries that this is not as it should be, but in the meantime her daughter needs hugging and the laundry needs folding. Mothering makes her need Jesus a lot, and this is okay. Happiness and pain settle into each other. She cares deeply about her children and also cares about a few things entirely unconnected with them, such as lengthy conversations, old books, and lush herb gardens.

I’ll sing you a song

A song of a mother

A song of an average mother.

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9 years ago

How beautiful.

Bethrusso
9 years ago

I love this, and on the inside, I wonder if they all felt like they were only “average”? This was wonderful, especially for Mother’s Day. Thanks for sharing ~

Renita
9 years ago

Thank you, Shari– I’m feeling much less than average these days, and your encouraging words about all these “average” (but in the end, perhaps, influential) mothers have given me hope. At least hope and courage to keep laundering dirty clothes and hugging my sons and daughters.

Marlene Stoltzfus
9 years ago

Powerfully written. Thanks, Shari.

Elisabeth
9 years ago

Wow.

Carla
9 years ago

BEAUTIFUL!

Carla
9 years ago
Reply to  Carla

The first mother and the last mother may not yet have made the history books, but they are my favorites.

Luci
9 years ago

oh my Shari. You do take my words from me. But they come out so much better than mine would. I was thinking about mediocrity and motherhood and just trying to get by so much of the time and I was also thinking about people who seem to mother so fully and freely and somehow that was all supposed to come together into a post but it’s still in my head and I’m just ambling around online tonight reading what everyone else has to say instead. I love this beautiful post.

Mama Zook
9 years ago

Beautiful, Shari, I’m so blessed that God gave Barb that second child, and I count you as one of the best of mothers!

9 years ago

I love this! Squarely with you in the average category, needing daily help!