On Mother’s Day or any other day, when things aren’t right with Mom, the whole world is a little off kilter.
Last night just as I was putting supper on the table, I was rifling through the refrigerator and an extra large, brand new tub of butter fell off the shelf and right on my toes. I yelped and hopped around, holding my breath as not to release the real feelings I had inside that may not be suitable for the young ears waiting at our table. My husband kindly took over setting the table and getting the food on plates while I recovered.
Our 4-year-old then took his cue to say the prayer and he went through his usual routine, only this time he added at the end, “and please help whatever is wrong with Mommy!”
We got a laugh out of his sincere yet blanket covering prayer for his mama. But I’ve thought about that sweet prayer a lot this week as Mother’s Day approaches. Isn’t that what we all want? Whatever is wrong with mom just needs to be fixed. We need our moms, and we need them never to be sick, hurting, or upset.
I remember the times when I was younger and I would wake up to find my dad in the kitchen, rummaging around for breakfast items. I knew if he was fixing breakfast, it meant something must be wrong with Mom. And sure enough, he’d tell me that she had some sort of bug that would keep her away from us for a day or so.
During those times it felt like our world was tipped on its axis. The air turned a little bit stale, the new prime time TV show didn’t have the same appeal, and the laundry seemed to explode in the hampers.
Only mom can make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich just right, tuck the sheets at the corners so when you get into bed they feel perfect around your feet, nudge you in the right direction toward a better decision, and greet you after a long day in such a way that the sun shines a little brighter.
Then we get older and find out that we need our moms to hold our hands when we bring our own babies into the world. We need her to give us words of encouragement as she fights back the tears and watches the moving van pull away. And above all we need her to never, ever get sick.
Our little boy's prayer has been prayed a million times over, maybe even today.
“Take away the cancer…”
“Take away the pain…”
“Relieve the financial stress…”
“Dry up her tears…”
“…just please help whatever is wrong with Mom.”
We all have a mom, whether we are best friends or long parted strangers, and the truth is that mothers get tired, sick, stressed, and worn out. But those little prayers said over tiny folded hands at the dinner table, and even the big, callused, working hands of a grown son are heard lifting up moms all over the planet.
That's because we all know that the air is stale, the sun shines a little less brilliantly, and the PB&J just doesn’t taste as good if everything isn’t right with Mom.
Jenny Diveley is an editor for Taylor Newspapers of Southeast Kansas. She is a mother of two sons and wife of a school teacher. She is a fifth generation Kansas newspaper editor.