Understanding a mother’s gift


Perhaps one of the best Mother’s Day gifts I ever received wasn’t even delivered on Mother’s Day. It was delivered years ago by our oldest daughter one spring day around the time two of her three sons were in or nearing the dreaded adolescent period. That special gift came by phone and consisted of three simple words.

Not the traditional mother/daughter sentiment, “I love you,” but “I finally understand.”

She had one of those days that I managed to file deep within the recesses of my mind. Her day had been filled with arguments, denied requests, accusations, tears and feelings of separation from the children she had brought into her world. It was a day when she had that deep sense of frustration and inadequacy. What made her think she could ever be a good mother?  

Someday it will be worth it, I tell her in all my wisdom. She too, will bury those days when her house is in chaos, milk is dripping off the table, children are fighting, and she is being told they hate her because she is the only parent in the world who won’t let them do what every other kid is doing. She will learn to ignore all these kinds of remarks just as she will take a deep breath every time she sees that pile of small-sized shoes that constantly cluttered the doorway instead of being tucked in the closet just steps away. She will come to terms with the idea that the only thing that will change is the size of the shoes.

A day will come when she is so proud she will cry tears of joy at who they have become and with it gratitude, respect, admiration and a small inkling that maybe her parenting skills weren’t all that bad, for these young men appear to have turned out better than she had ever hoped.

Maybe it won’t happen this Mother’s Day, but I wish for her there will be a time in her life when she will receive from her sons the gift she gave to me — those three little words: “I finally understand.”

Happy Mother’s Day to mothers and their children everywhere!


Joyce Ore

Joyce Ore writes delightful stories about life with a dose of humor and sprinkle of nostalgia. Her column appears Saturday in the Tribune.

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