Something happened this weekend…

Something happened this weekend that really touched me. The eldest son and his girlfriend came over to watch the first Harry Potter movie with us. And when it got to the part where the students were being divided into their different houses, I asked the son about this – did the different houses each represent a different trait or characteristic or something? He said that one house valued intelligence, another courage, a third valued kindness, and the fourth valued ambition. I asked him which house he thought he’d fit in and he said the one that values kindness probably (which was cool to me because the eldest son is brilliant – but he chose kindness over that). He asked me where I’d go, and I said maybe the scholarly one – or the kind one.

And then we sort of mulled over the idea of any of us going to the house that values courage and we decided that, yeah – we’d probably all be okay with that one, too. “I’ve climbed mountains…” I said – trying to blow my own horn  – “and traveled and had adventures…” and then – and this is the part that really touched my heart – the son said, “And you’ve gotten in the middle of a fight and stood up to bullies before.” And his girlfriend asked, “Really?!” – trying to picture me doing that.  And the son said yeah, he’d seen me walk into a ring of gang members before and seen me try to yank one guy off another one.

And this is true. I did do that. I saw a young man sitting on top of another young man, pounding his head into the parking lot pavement when I came out of a movie theater once – and, without thinking, I walked into the ring of spectators watching this happen, and tried to pull the attacker off his victim. I yelled, “Stop it! You’re killing him!” And one of the spectators said, “Lady, you better be careful. This guy could have a knife!” And I turned on him and asked him why he was just watching, why he wasn’t trying to help. And then I put my hands on my hips and announced, “I am a teacher!” – like that was going to make them all stop. And the guy who was smashing the other guy’s head into the pavement sort of paused, and looked up at me for a minute, and then went back to doing what he was doing. Pretty soon the police came out and took care of it all.

But… I didn’t know my son had appreciated me doing that, or had admired it. He’d been watching me from a distance with his friends and their parents – he was only nine or so at the time – and I always kind of wondered what he’d thought about it all. Had he thought I was crazy stupid to get in there and try to break that fight up (which I probably was, in retrospect)? Had he been embarrassed by me?

And last weekend he told me I had made him proud that night.

Isn’t that cool?

Instructions to a First-Time Mom: Just Love Her

My mother tells me that when I was born and she held me in her arms for the first time, the weight of the responsibility of raising and caring for me suddenly filled her with great fear. She was so afraid she’d mess it all up somehow.

She looked up at the doctor and shared her fears with him. The doctor smiled at her sweet face and said, “Love her. Just love her.”

This was something my mom knew how to do – and do really well.

My brothers and I may not have had the most conventional up-bringing – but none of us could have asked for a mother with more love in her heart.  We grew up witnesses to how she expressed love to others –  seeing her voice her protest for those who were being treated unfairly, watching her take in stray animals and make them part of the family, seeing how a room would light up as soon as she entered it and smiled her love on everyone. And the love she expressed wasn’t some feigned thing, either. It came from deep inside her – true and pure. She truly loved mankind and all God’s creatures – and we saw this, and incorporated her example into our own sense of how to live a decent and moral life.

As I think back on my younger years, there’s one moment that stands out for me. I think I must have been in my early twenties, and there was some sadness about a break-up with a boyfriend or something – dashed hopes of some kind – I can’t remember the specifics now – but I was feeling lost and alone – not sure what direction I was supposed to take in my life. I was home visiting Mom and Dad, and had gone out into the backyard to look up at the stars and pray. Mom must have known I was out there, and came and stood beside me. I shared my sadness with her then – I think I shared how I was feeling like a “surplus” person – like there seemed to be no place for me. My mom reached over to one of her rose bushes and gently plucked a rose from it and handed it to me. She looked into my eyes and said, “This is you. I see you unfolding into a most beautiful rose.” And then she went back into the house.

Wow. Those simple words, spoken with perfect love, totally reversed my thoughts about myself and my circumstances. Mom loved me. Mom thought I was unfolding like a beautiful rose. How cool is that?!

I’m grateful to say that Mom is still with us here, still loving her fellow creatures, and still an example to us all of how to live a “good” life, and how to be  the best kind of mother.

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…” – Deuteronomy 32: 11

A mother’s affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal. Therefore maternal affection lives on under whatever difficulties.” – from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

(Originally posted in November, 2012)

There is Nothing More Powerful

Sister, you are not invisible to us. You are not forgotten. You are not alone. You express the motherhood of Love, and there is nothing more powerful.

motherhood 2

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

One Last Song

Without any words you sat down at the piano one last time before heading off on your new adventure. You knew I would come and hear – pulled by that irresistible sound of your fingers on the keys – and all in a flash I saw you again as a toddler – the back of your round little downy-haired head as you sat on my lap at the piano, your tiny fingers pushing down on the keys, then your face turning up to me, a grin of pure glee there… is there anything more powerful than love?

Happy Mother’s Day to Nurturers and Reflections of Love Everywhere!

“… when I came home from school, and told Moz that I didn’t think my first grade teacher liked me so much and that she was a crabby old lady, Mom’s response was, “Well, Sweetie, we just need to love the hell right out of her then.” Moz didn’t commiserate with me, didn’t call up the school and complain about this teacher – nope – instead she used this opportunity to teach me a life-long lesson about the power of love. I started my Campaign of Love the very next day,..”

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation. – Mary Baker Eddy

Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality,  the infinite Father-Mother God. – Mary Baker Eddy

I love this video of Mom – it totally captures the essence of who she is – warm, loving, joyful. Here’s Moz, at age 80, singing her unique version of  Mamma Mia:

I couldn’t have been more blest than I’ve been to have this beautiful reflection of motherhood for my mom.

Moz was wise: I remember coming home from school in the first grade, telling Moz about my day. My first grade teacher was not what most people envision when they think of a first grade teacher – she was not sweet-voiced, smiling, or nurturing. She was, to put it starkly, kind of cranky, and didn’t seem…

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Sharing a Child with the World…

 Sharing a child with the world is the absolute in love — he will be in contact with more love than he has ever had in his life. And will of course share it all with you. It’s time to sharpen your intuition and other heartfelt communications skills. If you stay in tune with him, you’ll see how easy it will be to have him experiencing the whole globe and still be connected to your heartstrings. Try to stop mourning something that you did not lose. This “graduation” into adulthood will pay back endless dividends to you and to him. So — I know that I am sounding like a big smartypants….but it is true, I AM a big smartypants! Congratulations on this essential step in parenting. Don’t worry, you have job security. Forever.                      – Linda Sola

***

My oldest son left home yesterday to return for his final year at the university. This time felt different, to me, than the three times he’s returned to school before. This time it felt so… well… final. At the end of this school year he graduates, launches off into his “own life”, and maybe returns to us once a year at Christmas.

As the son was getting himself packed up and ready to go, I was trying to figure out what I could give him to send him on his trip. If I had a daughter leaving to go back to university maybe I’d give her a card, or some little sentimental trinket, or flowers… but the son is a very male male… still… I had a sudden memory of the son at about the age of three, sweetly offering me a fistful of yellow dandelions… he’d always liked flowers when he was little.

Was it my turn to give him a flower? How would a manly man feel about his mother handing him a rose?

Oh bother. I still wasn’t sure how to proceed, but my rose bushes needed pruning, anyway, so I decided I might as well start clipping off some of the buds – and if, when the time came for the son to leave, it didn’t feel quite right to offer him roses, I’d just keep them and put them in a vase.

And then a cool thing happened: As I was bringing the rose buds inside, the son looked over and saw them. “Pretty flowers,” he observed.

And suddenly it was the most natural thing in the world to say,  “I’m going to give one to you to take on your trip,” He smiled and thanked me – kind and generous in the way of a man grown – accepting my little floral offering with the same look on his face that I’d probably had when he’d once offered me his little fistful of dandelions.

The husband and I smiled and waved as our son pulled out of the driveway and headed back to school. And then I made my way to the solace of my Secret Garden, and remembered…

Andrew and dandelion

Happy Mother’s Day to Nurturers and Reflections of Love Everywhere!

Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation. – Mary Baker Eddy

Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality,  the infinite Father-Mother God. – Mary Baker Eddy

I love this video of Mom – it totally captures the essence of who she is – warm, loving, joyful. Here’s Moz, at age 80, singing her unique version of  Mamma Mia:

I couldn’t have been more blest than I’ve been to have this beautiful reflection of motherhood for my mom.

Moz was wise: I remember coming home from school in the first grade, telling Moz about my day. My first grade teacher was not what most people envision when they think of a first grade teacher – she was not sweet-voiced, smiling, or nurturing. She was, to put it starkly, kind of cranky, and didn’t seem to like her students all that much. What I didn’t know at the time was that my first grade teacher had recently lost her son and husband. She was going through some pretty rough times in her life. Mom didn’t know about any of this, either. But when I came home from school, and told Moz that I didn’t think my first grade teacher liked me so much and that she was a crabby old lady, mom’s response was, “Well, Sweetie, we just need to love the hell right out of her then.” Moz didn’t commiserate with me, didn’t call up the school and complain about this teacher – nope – instead she used this opportunity to teach me a life-long lesson about the power of love. I started my Campaign of Love the very next day,  bringing in hand-picked flowers for my teacher, and leaving little notes of love on her desk. And by the time she met with my mom to conference about my progress in school she told my mom how very much she enjoyed me, and how much my kindness had meant to her.

Moz was our hero: When my little brother was a toddler he’d gotten ahold of some marbles from somewhere and swallowed them. My grandma was there as my little brother started turning blue. She said to Mom: “We’ve lost him!” Mom grabbed my little brother by his ankles, held him upside down and said, “No,” and wacked him on the back, “we,” wacked him on the back again, “HAVEN’T!!!” and four slimy marbles popped onto the floor. My brother took a big gasp of air and turned back to his normal shade of color.

Moz taught us the power that comes with understanding God, Good: When the same little brother was about seven years-old he became very sick. Dad and Mom took him to our family physician who told them that they had a very sick boy – he had mastoiditis. There was a good chance he’d lose his hearing, and he might lose his life.  Surgery would probably need to be scheduled for him. Dad and Mom brought my brother home from the doctor’s office and Mom asked Dad (who was not a Christian Scientist) if she could call a Christian Science practitioner for prayerful support and my dad agreed to this.  I remember lying in bed that night, listening to my little brother screaming in pain in the next room, and my mom comforting him, singing hymns to him. And then – I remember this very clearly – suddenly he was snoring. The healing was that instantaneous. “He’s healed! He’s healed!” my mom called out – the joy in her voice filling our home. And he was, too. The next day the doctor confirmed that my little brother was well. And he never lost his hearing, either.

Moz had been a Music Performance major in college – she had a fantastic voice. She’d been accepted into the Portland opera company when she graduated from college, but she realized that wasn’t the life for her. She wasn’t particularly ambitious when it came to a profession in music.  She wanted to be a mom.  And we got to have her for our mom.  The opera company’s loss was our gain. 🙂

Moz thinks of herself more as a hobbit than an elf – she likes being home, puttering around in the garden, taking care of her cats, llamas,and  goats, and keeping the bird-feeders full for her feathered friends. But make no mistake – if she’s a hobbit, she’s more a “Baggins” kind of hobbit than a regular hobbit. She has had her share of adventures in life. She’s climbed Mount Rainier twice, ran track in college, birthed three children – and all this after she was apparently told as a youngster, following a bout with rheumatic fever, that her heart had been damaged and she should lead a quiet, sheltered life. None of us knew anything about this until last year, when, 80 years after the rheumatic fever, she was told she needed to have open heart surgery.  I talked about that experience in this blog post: https://madcapchristianscientist.com/2012/05/28/the-world-outside-akkima-theresa-and-the-man-in-the-fairy-wings/ . I’m happy to say that now, one year later, Moz has completely recovered from the surgery. Once again she’s puttering around her garden, feeding the birds, singing her songs, sharing her sense of humor and her huge capacity for  love with everyone she meets.

I’m so blest – happy I can still pick up the phone and give her a call and hear her voice. Happy i can still see her and talk with her and be enriched by her wisdom and kindness and humor.

May all who have nurtured and loved and cared for others know how appreciated they are this Mother’s Day. God bless.

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A mother’s affection cannot be weaned from her  child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal. – Mary Baker Eddy

Love, the divine Principle, is the Father and Mother of the universe, including man. – Mary Baker Eddy