When I was about ten years old, I had a foster brother named Harry. He only lived with us for a few months, but we all grew to be very attached to him. When he had to leave, it was quite sudden; we had a day’s notice to say our goodbyes. Losing him was painful for all of us.
Some months later, while we were getting ready for school, my mother started to feel a heavy feeling, a sense that something was wrong with Harry and that he needed help. She prayed fervently for him as she drove us to school, but the feelings persisted. So she continued to pray, and as she did, an image came to her. She saw Harry attached to her by a long umbilical cord. After that, she felt peace. She believed that even though she was not Harry’s biological mother, she could still be his spiritual mother and pray for him.
I’ll always be attached to my mother. I’m grown and the physical umbilical cord has long been cut, but we’ll always be tied together in spirit. She’s my anchor, my home base, the cornerstone of everything that I am. She has not only been an anchor for her own children, but has sought to be that for others as well. She’s nurtured foster children, an adopted daughter, and children from all different backgrounds in preschools and daycares.
My mother has one of the most genuinely caring hearts I’ve ever known anyone to have. She taught me what empathy was by demonstrating, through her words, her tears, her eyes, that she felt my every pain and joy acutely, sometimes maybe even more strongly than I felt it myself. She showed me what compassion was by her tender heart, by the sacrifices she made for not just me and my siblings, but for other children, as well.
She’s the one I’ve always been able to count on to be wildly enthusiastic about my successes, and for genuine sympathy (and words of encouragement) for my failures. I know she would give or do anything for me, just as I would do anything for my own daughters. There truly is no love like a mother’s love.
It’s hard to imagine life without that foundation of love. It is our relationship with our mothers that provides us with a basis for building all of our other relationships. If a child begins life with that umbilical cord severed, without a loving and nurturing caregiver (like the abandoned babies I wrote about in my first blog post) they often have difficulty trusting anyone or forming healthy attachments. They don’t really know how to love or be loved. Having a mother–or someone else in the role of mother–is absolutely crucial to a person’s development and well-being.
Everyone has different talents and callings. Not everyone is suited to be a mother, just as not everyone is suited to be a doctor or a singer. Thank you to all those mothers (especially mine) who use their gift of motherhood to nurture children, to give them that secure base, that connection. The world is a better place because of you.