To Mothers Everywhere
The Goldstream Gazette:
LETS TALK May, 2009
Paul Beckow M.Sc. R.P.C.
Individual, Marriage, Family Counsellor
I remember being 10 years old, away from my family at my first ever summer camp. At “rest time” I would quietly walk off through the woods, all by myself and whistle my mother’s favourite Broadway songs, as loudly as I could. Gosh, how I missed my mother and my family home.
These songs, and my walk through the forest, evoked a mix of joy and sadness acknowledging a truth deep in my heart. That is, there was nothing I was more grateful for, in my entire 10 year-old life, than my mother.
I recall at 12 years old, spending hours at night at my back yard basketball hoop, practicing my free throw shots under the lights. I was determined to improve my shooting accuracy.
I thought I’d improve best if I could find one single powerful motivation to absolutely “have to” score on each and every shot I took. So I told myself that if I sank the next shot, that very shot, if I sank it, had the power to save my mother’s life, And my mother would live forever. In my 12 year old world nothing could possibly matter more to me than that.
As with all our mothers, my mom did so much for me. I had so much to be thankful for: clean pyjamas, 3 good meals a day, reading to me at bedtime and being tucked in under the clean sheets, being steadied on my first bike with training wheels. I recall our early morning walks to school, peanut butter and banana sandwiches in my lunch kit, trips by bus to the beach in the summer, teaching me to swim, new runners, car rides here and there.… The list was endless.
At the end of my grade five year my teachers called a meeting with my mom and me to tell us both that I needed to attend summer school as a condition for passing into grade six. After listening patiently to them, my mom announced, “Okay. We’ll do it !” Then, turning to me, she smiled and said “ I guess they don’t yet know just how smart you really are. And a little summer school is just the thing to show them!”
My mom believed in me when I hadn’t yet learned to do that myself.
( And yes, I did believe her about the summer school thing - and yes, we did show them. )
I remember while playing Little league getting up to bat at the plate, and my mom cheering so loud, it was almost embarrassing . “Hit it out of there Paul. You can do it ! ”
There is something so powerful, almost sacred, in the precious gift of a mother’s attention and commitment to her children.
In the last four plus years I have watched my daughter-in-law as she cares for our beautiful granddaughters Emma and Ava. As their mother, Alex’s focus, her concern, adoration, her devotion to them both is indescribable.
Devotion: that is the word. A mother’s devotion to tend to, to care for her children, is the fullest, deepest, most unconditional human act of love on our planet. It is an amazing gift.
When I was 23, my mother died quite suddenly. I’ll never forget my shock and disbelief receiving the news.
Then soon afterwards, I noticed another equally strong feeling. I experienced a deep sense of peace. My strongest feeling, my deepest reality, was gratitude.
I saw that my mom had done her job! I was ready now to take on my life. The truth was I was so grateful that I had had her in my life for all of my 23 years.
Then, alongside this gratefulness, I became aware of another feeling – regret. I realized that in our time together I had never fully expressed my gratitude and appreciation to my mom for all she had done for me while she was alive.
I was mystified ! How could such a deep feeling so strong within me all these years, go unexpressed to her? Why hadn’t I communicated these feelings of thankfulness and gratitude?
It is out of this awareness that I greet the opportunity brought by Mother’s Day 2009. I wish to express my gratitude to mothers everywhere.
Thank you for all you are – for all your caring, and for all you do. You make an enormous difference for life and for all our world. It’s not possible to thank you enough.
Yet I know you understand the gratefulness we feel. I know that - because you have a mother too.
Paul Beckow is a marriage counsellor in the West Shore and can be reached at his e mail: pbeckowLETSTALK@shaw.ca or Paul Beckow Counselling 250 721 2477.
For personal or couple counselling, for more information, or to register for a course - please contact Paul Beckow at The Victoria Family Institute.