Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Mother's Heart

Before the flood, I had planned to do a post about moms or mothering every day this week. And let's be honest-not a real stretch since most of what I write about is about being a mom. What I had planned was my attempt to make light of the hard parts of being a mom. Handling tough things the way I handle any tough thing-with humor. But I started to worry it would all ring a bit hollow. Especially to my own ears.

After yesterday I thought maybe I had moved on. Maybe things were starting to get better for everyone. At least I could pretend so when I just stayed home all day. But today the harsh reality of the whole situation showed back up. I saw a dumping area where they were dumping and sorting all of the debris pulled from people's homes. Piles and piles of what once represented "home" to people. I saw a hand written sign propped against a mailbox on Highway 100-"Need Help" it said. And most profoundly for me it showed back up in a mom and her son. And so, i will write about moms after all.

Today, I was dropping Drew off at school. We were doing our hand washing routine about the time Nathan and his mom came in. Nathan's mom works at the school, and usually Nathan is the first one in the class. As I was behind the door at the sink, I started to hear bits and pieces of the conversation Nathan's mom was having with Ms. Judy. "It's kind of awkward to say, " she said, "but we can really only use money or gift cards at this point. We don't have anywhere to put stuff." My heart clenched up. Nathan's family were victims of the flooding. On the way to school, no kidding, Drew said these words, "Mommy, I like Nathan. He is a nice friend and fun to play with." What happened next nearly pushed me over the edge. As Nathan's mom was ready to leave he clung to her neck and sobbed. Not three year old whining-sobbing. He did not want his mom to go. And it was obvious she did not want to leave him. She was crying, too.

I walked to my car just praying for both of them. I was unable to imagine trying to go about the business of teaching four year olds when your whole life had just taken a dramatic turn. And to think about what it means to be a mom in that situation...

Being a mom means protecting your children. It is agony when you can't. Being a mom means making sure their little lives work. It is heart breaking when that doesn't happen. Something in a mom drives her to be her best and do her best for those littles she is in charge of. It's a full time pursuit. She knows which toys mean the most. Just how to make the sandwich right. The right way to wash the hair. What kind of snack would make his day.

I'm so thankful for Nathan that despite his great loss, he still has his mom. Because I know she will work with everything inside her to make things right for him.

Say a special prayer for all those moms whose homes have been ravaged. Say a prayer for them as they work to make things right again for their babies.

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