My husband has been re-reading Lord of the Rings to our family this spring. We love J.R.R. Tolkien. He was such a brilliant writer, and there are many, many times during the course of his story that my husband gets choked up even reading it.
Whenever that happens, I cry, too. Our older children swallow back lumps in their throats, as well, while the little ones prick up their ears and puzzle over what part of the tale could have moved the rest of the family to tears.
One thing I appreciate about Tolkien is his grasp of language and his obvious love for poetry. Both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are sprinkled liberally with rhymes, verses, and songs that Tolkien composed himself. My husband confesses to have skimmed past those parts when he devoured the books as a young boy, but he humors me by reading every word of them now with as lilting a cadence as he can muster.
I’m certainly no Tolkien, but I share his love for poetry and have myself dabbled for years in composing original verses and songs. Since today is Mother’s Day, I thought now would be a fitting time to insert another of my own poems into a blog post. (If you’re not a fan of rhymed verse, you have my permission to skip to the end.)
Why God Made Mothers
For giving birth — as moms do best,
For nursing babies at her breast,
For singing lullabies at night
For soothing fears and hugging tight,
For wiping teardrops from my eye
And sympathizing when I cry
While kissing boo-boos on my knee,
For bringing out the best in me,
For teaching me to tie a lace,
For using spit to clean my face,
For rocking me upon her lap
Cajoling me to take my nap,
For baking cookies by the batch,
For making sure our doors are latched
At night before she goes to bed,
For placing cold rags on my head
Whenever I am feeling sick
And fetching throw-up buckets, quick!
For bringing me “just one more” drink,
For understanding how I think,
For daily lifting me in prayer,
For combing tangles from my hair,
For teaching me to blow my nose,
For scrubbing stains out of my clothes,
For reading stacks of picture books,
For complimenting my good looks
And calling me endearing names,
For driving me to football games,
For watching o’er me as I play,
Correcting when I disobey,
For letting me help wash the dishes
After dinner — so delicious,
Coaxing me to eat green beans,
For being patient in my teens,
For measuring how fast I grow,
For holding on, for letting go,
For all the many things you do,
I’m grateful, Mom, God gave me you.
It’s interesting how many of the books my husband loved most dearly as a child (and shares most enthusiastically as a parent, including Lord of the Rings) center around an orphaned protagonist. Although Doug was blessed to have had a very attentive adoptive mom, he never knew his biological mother and keenly felt her absence during his formative years.
I know Mother’s Day is difficult for a lot of people: People whose mothers are no longer with them. People who never knew a mother at all. People who’d like to be mothers themselves, but for whatever reason remain childless.
But the fact is, if you are alive today, it is because you had a mother who carried you in her womb and chose for you the gift of life, and you can acknowledge and appreciate her for doing so.
If you are so fortunate to have a mother still living and involved in your life, you can (and should) tell her how much you love her and thank her for the countless ways she has blessed you through the years – every sacrifice she’s made, every meal she’s prepared, every prayer she’s prayed, et cetera, et cetera.
And if your mother has already passed, you can honor her memory by living the kind of life that should make any mother proud: one seeped in love, marked by gratitude, and girded with integrity.