Mommy to Mother

By Joe Rector

I admit that I’m in awe of those females with children. I am always amazed to think that they carry new lives for nine months and then go through the pain to deliver those lives into the world. Many go through the process again, even knowing what lies ahead. Maybe that’s why females are God’s greatest creation. As the years of parenthood wind, the name for that life-giving person changes.

As soon as a newborn arrives, parents begin talking to it. Before long, sounds come, and grown-ups coax the little one to call them by name. Selfishly, we men try every way in the world to have our children utter the word “Daddy” as their first. To be fair, all children should be encouraged to say “Mommy” instead because that woman is the main line to life.

Jim and I were a surprise in that the doctor hadn’t known there were two of us until delivery. During those first years of life, “Mommy” stayed home with us. She sewed to bring in extra money to the household, and during those times, no such thing as daycare existed or would have been condoned. Jim and I squalled out “Mommy” for everything. We were hungry and wanted her to fix food. We sat on the potty and need her to complete the clean-up tasks. Sometimes, we cried for “Mommy” because we were scared by a bad dream. Most important, we wanted Mommy when we were ill, and her hugs and pats made us feel better.

At some point, the name “Mommy” was too immature sounding. Maybe because we’d heard Daddy use the name or because our older brother Dal used it, we began saying “Momma.” That’s who had gone back to school and become a teacher. Momma is the one who cooked supper and washed clothes. That’s who made sure we “toed the line” and used switches, belts, and paddles to correct bad behavior. The woman loved us, but she also rode herd on twins who were loud of mouth, round in stature, and constant in motion. Momma was the woman who helped the three of us get through and survive the death of our daddy. She was the sole bread winner that made sure we had clothes and food and education.

Gradually, a new name came into use. Maybe it was because we’d gone away to college. Maybe we just realized how much she’d sacrificed for us throughout the years. At any rate, we began to refer to that woman in our lives as “Mother,” and for the rest of her days, that is the name we used for her. When she overdid things and appeared to be close to collapsing, we’d fuss at her. “Mother, you’ve got to stop that and let us help you.” Those words fell on deaf ears. We reassured Mother that we’d be there for her as she battled cancer and made sure she knew she could stay home. To this day, Jim and I talk about Mother and the things she said and did.

My wife Amy has gone from “Mommy to Mom to Mother” with our children. They love and respect her and are amazed at all she’s done for them in their lives. Sometimes Amy might feel inadequate, but a quick “Mother” is followed with reassuring words from Lacey and Dallas that let her know just how important she is in the world.

All of us would do well to offer thanks to those wonderful women who have been there for us through life. Men, realize that you are important, but not as much as Mommy, Momma, and Mother. That’s just the facts of live.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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