What your mother did for you

Published 8:35 am Saturday, May 10, 2014

by John Railey

Whether you came from the warmth of her womb or she adopted you, you two became one early on.

From the start, she bonded with you and wanted to make your presence known to the world. She was certain that everybody else would love you as much as she already did.

Depending on her moods, your mother will remind you of those early days. You should always be thankful. You will forever in your subconsciousness treasure the security of that time, your first inkling of unconditional love.

From the start, she held you close, rubbed your tiny fingers and toes and whispered to you that you would be part of her forever. You made her whole.

She fed you your bottles then burped you, holding you tight. She loved it when you kept your eyes pinned on her.

She loved your first smiles, even when it was just gas.

She loved your first attempts at words. To her, they were as good as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

She held you up through your fledgling crawls and then your first walk. She read you your first words and held your tiny fingers to those words, guiding you across the page. She laughed and sometimes cried about your little being coming into your own.

She drove you to that first day of day care and cried as she drove away. She did the same thing when she took you to your first day of kindergarten and your first day of school.

As you got older, you probably paid more attention to your friends. You sought to remove yuorself from your mother.

But you could not push her away anymore than you could stop doves from cooing at sunset. She’s loved you since you were small and she loves you even when you act small.

She thought you were a great athlete and cheered on your school games no matter how good or bad you were. If you played high-school basketball, she thought you were the next Michael Jordan­­—and told anybody who would listen, over and over.

She made your every event.

She thought you were a great student and had great promise, whether you were in contention to be a Rhodes Scholar or were just struggling to not flunk out of school. Later, she thought your career was off to a great start, even if you were a backbencher who daily feared you’d get fired.

She’s been with you through divorce and re-marriage. She let you know when you were wrong and when you were right. But she always believed in you.

She believed in you when no else would. She kept it up, regardless of what else was going on in her life, even if she was battling cancer.

She will remind you of the better angels of your nature until the day she dies. When you are selfish, she will remind you to think of others. When you are hateful, she will remind you to love. When you don’t stick up for yourself, she will prod you hard until you do.

To this day, she knows your moods almost better than you do. And she’ll always tell you to get in a better mood.

She would walk through hell and sleep out in the rain for you, whether you thanked her for it or not. She’d die for you. She will forgive you if you forget her birthday and Mother’s Day and everything else and don’t call her for weeks at a time. She will still treasure the scrapbooks she has kept of your every move. She will still carry you in her heart forever.

If you are wise, you will always remember your mother’s love. Soldiers and Marines on foreign battlefields spend their last breaths crying out for mama. It is only natural. The bond is endless and timeless, as unfathomable as the magic of butterfly wings.

To her dying breath she will hold you close in her heart and soul.

Cheers to all mothers today, including mine, Hazel Railey of Courtland, and all the rest in my family. And cheers to all the mothers who watch from above. Your lessons and your memories abide.

John Railey who grew up in Courtland, is editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal. His email address is jrailey@wsjournal.com.