A Tribute to Mothers

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Lately, most of the talk on the CBA website is appropriately enough all about Father’s Day. Since Mother’s Day is coming up in a couple weeks, I want to take this time to write a column about mothers. If I took a poll, I think most of you could name a bluegrass song that has something to do with mothers. The subject is one we can all relate to, we’ve all had one.

I’ve noticed more and more posts on Facebook lately from sons and daughters who are searching for their birth mother. I’ve also seen several posts from Moms who are searching for their children; perhaps a child surrendered for adoption or a prodigal son or daughter that they would like to reconnect with. I find it curious that there haven’t been any people posting in search of their biological fathers.

There truly is something unique about the love of a mother for her children. In most instances, she has a natural instinct to nurture, protect and tenderly care for her babies. I believe the bonding process between mother and child begins even before the birth. In most cases, the mother has set her affection on the baby long before it enters the world. The baby gets accustomed to its mothers voice while it is still in the womb. Many moms will sing or read to their unborn baby for this reason. It is no wonder that when mother and child are separated for whatever reason, there is a strong desire to reconnect.

Most of you have heard that it’s not wise to come between a mother bear and her cubs. I think it is true of most animals; the mother’s instinct is to protect and care for her young, training them for the day that they can make their own way. Mother birds are very protective of their eggs and their babies. A bird called a “killdeer” builds a nest on the ground and if a predator comes in the vicinity the bird will use a “broken wing” tactic to draw the predator away from her nest; putting herself at risk in order to protect her eggs.

One spring we had a small bird (linnet) that built a nest in a bush near our front door. She would fly away from the nest every time we entered or exited the house. One day we had a heavy rain and there was a leak in the gutter that allowed the rain to pour down on the little bird and her nest; she kept her vigil on the five tiny eggs. Using a clear plastic bag and some clothes pins, I made a makeshift umbrella for the bird and her nest. She never left her nest, guarding it with her life. Moms are like that.

Have you ever noticed that most mothers like broken eggs? When the food is on the table and there are not enough biscuits for everyone, it’s always mom who is not very hungry and will do without. There were eight kids in my family and as I look back, I realize how sacrificial my mother’s love was for her children. She has been gone for over twenty years now but there are still many days that I wish I could pick up a phone and share a piece of good news with her or just hear her voice. One of the most thoughtful gifts she ever gave me was a rose bush. I have treasured it over the years and still receive beautiful red roses from Mom every season.

As I said before, there are many songs written about moms. The first one that came to my mind was an old Carter Family song, “Hold Fast to the Right.” It’s a song that has a mother giving her son some parting advice as he leaves home to seek employment. Here is an excerpt from that song:

I gave you to God in your cradle, my boy
And taught you the best that I knew
And as long as His mercies permit me to live
I shall never stop praying for you

Hold fast to the right, hold fast to the right
Wherever your footsteps may roam
And forsake not the way of salvation, my boy
That you learned from your mother at home

My friend Frank Brewer shared a song with me, simply called “Mama.” It was done by Lou Reid and Carolina. The following is part of that song:

Mama, I wonder sometimes how I ever got by
Running wild, driving you crazy, telling you lies
You turned to Jesus when my ways were too much to bear
And Mama, He must have been listening to all of your prayers

Mama, I hope you’re still praying for me every night
I’m always trying to do what you taught me was right
Sometimes it’s hard to stay on the road straight and true
And Mama, I wouldn’t know which way to turn without you

And finally, the song that hits close to home with me is a Hazel Dickens song, “Mama’s Hand,” yet another song of a child leaving mother and home. The chorus is as follows:

One old paper bag filled with hand-me-downs
Plain old country girl raised on gospel sound
With only the love she gave me
Pride in what I am
It was hard to let go of Mama’s hand, my Mama’s hand

I have had an “empty nest” for many years now but I usually spend Mother’s Day with at least one of our two daughters. This year I will be flying to New York to care for my youngest grand daughter while her parents take a trip to celebrate their Silver Anniversary. Alexandra and I will spend our special Mother’s Day together making some precious memories. Until next month, be blessed.

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