Through every stage of my own life as a mother, I’ve come to appreciate my mother more. While lots of reasons to praise her come to mind, the one that has been more glowingly illuminated over the past few years is her lack of apron strings.
As my children and my friends’ children are growing up and leaving home, I’m realizing how much freedom my mother gave her children. Freedom to choose. Freedom to fail. Freedom to live their own lives, in their own ways. Freedom to hear from the Lord—or not.
Not that she didn’t give advice or help—and not that she didn’t pray!—but she didn’t expect to be the only voice in our lives—or even the first one. She didn’t try to manipulate our decisions to fit her needs or desires. She let us spread our wings and fly—even if it meant flying away from her for a while in order to discover ourselves. She didn’t demand relationship; she adjusted it. Her expectations took a back seat to reality. She revels in whatever opportunities work out for us to be together, whether a planned celebration of some sort or a spur-of-the-moment gathering.
And you know what? Because she didn’t try to tie any of us to her apron springs, try to keep us within her grasp, none of us chafe against her requests now. We all like to come home, simply because she respects us enough as adults—and has since we left home—not to demand it of us. We have grace to say “no, it just doesn’t work in my schedule right now” or “I have other plans.” And we know in the saying that we won’t have to endure sulking or punishment or reproach.
My mother holds her grown children loosely, and because of that, she holds our hearts more tightly than if she gripped with both hands.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!