This is the time of year when we begin to wax poetic about mothers … specifically, our mothers. For some of us, reflecting upon mom is to reflect upon her sacrifice and the hard work she put forth in caring for our family and in raising us. For others of us, our moms may have been less than stellar or even absent mothers when we needed them most. In reality, most of our moms are somewhere in between superhuman and less than stellar. So how do we reflect upon motherhood that is somehow acted out each and every day by real human beings with real frailties built into their lives yet who wish to be the best moms they can be for their children?

As I reflect upon my own mom, with the gifts she gave me along with her human frailties, I think the gift I received from her was the gift of authenticity. Mom was not always the perfect mom as she herself had to deal with the sometimes harsh realities in her own world. Mom did many things for us, and she was always present for those significant events in our lives. Mom taught us about living and loving and what it means to follow our dreams. But above all, I learned from mom how to be real!

I can remember a time in my life when I was struggling with identity. I was in high school, and I was trying hard to fit into the “right” crowd. Mom sat down with me one day, and told me that she would love me no matter what I did. But the one thing she wanted most for me was to be myself … my most authentic self. I’m not sure I quite understood what that meant at the time, but in time I understood. Even if others liked me for who I pretended to be, I would never really like myself because I would know I was a fraud. And if I could like myself, then I could respect myself. If I could respect myself, then I was well on my way to being the authentic child of God I was created to be.

So no matter who people might think I am or how much (or how little) they respect me, I know who I am. Because of my mom, I know I am loved … I am real … I am a child of God. Thanks, Mom, for the gift of letting me just be myself.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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