It was early evening when I sat next to my mother and father during a musical performance being held at their assisted living facility. Now in their mid-80’s, they find themselves in a season of life when their physical independence is limited and they require assistance from caring individuals outside of the family.
My parents are an example of strength and determination, and have developed a depth of love for their family that only comes from years of experience.
Once young and vibrant, they continue to do and be the best they can in spite of living with bodies that are physically limited.
As I watched my mother, I noticed her wavy silver hair held slight hints of warm black and gray, revealing signs of younger times. It softly framed her beautiful face, and round cheeks splashed with a pink glow. Her smile was tired, but still exhibited the bubbly personality my mother is known to possess. My heart began to fill with memories of her as I grew from a small child into the woman I am today. How I longed for the days when she alone could rescue me from the discomforts of this world! I slowly reached out and took her hand in mine. Her delicate fingers with pronounced joints and fine wrinkled skin showed signs of wear that only intensified the warmth and expression of the love felt between us.
A special bond exists between a mother and child. It reaches beyond any imperfections, differences of opinion, or past judgments. It surpasses misunderstandings, pain, illness, and aging.
As I held my mother’s hand I took a slow deep breath and inhaled the euphoria of being loved by the woman who gave birth to me and has loved me into adulthood. She is the woman who held me tightly in her arms as an infant and nourished me both physically and emotionally until I was ready to explore the world on my own. She is the woman who was key in helping me become the person I am today. She is the woman whose many personal sacrifices helped her children to reach their potential and experience the best of life. And because of this she has earned the right, and deserves it, to have her sweet hand held every day.
A mother is a teacher, comforter, motivator, mentor, and a spiritual guide. My mother taught me how to laugh when I didn’t feel like it, when to release my pain with tears, and when to be strong and push through my challenges. She showed me how to work hard, how to reach out to others, when to stand up and speak my mind, and when to step back to let others shine. I believe that mothers can provide a real-life education that surpasses anything learned in a classroom. Do not underestimate the power and influence of motherhood. Whether it is dealing with a two year-old temper tantrum, a pre-teen emotional rollercoaster, or even a full open teenage rebellion in a clash for independence, mothers are committed to loving, nurturing, and guiding their children towards a path of happiness. They magically know our full potential and in their unique way they want to help us be all that we are capable of becoming.
Despite her advanced age, my mother continues to teach me through her example. Her smile is infectious and it is the first and last thing people remember about her. When she enters a room she illuminates it with a love and sincerity that draws people towards her. She is true to herself. She is genuine. She is my mother. I only hope that I can live out my life in the way that she has shown me.
She held my delicate hand when I was an infant entering a new and expanding world that was scary and foreign. It is now my turn to hold her delicate hand in a world where becoming older is scary and foreign.
From birth to death, holding hands has to be the greatest and most rewarding gesture of love. It is the opportunity for two hearts to connect where words are not necessary to convey feelings.
In quiet retrospect I gently held my mother’s hand and softly squeezed it. Without turning her head or saying a word, she smiled and squeezed back in response, her hand a symbol of a bond that mother and child forever hold, forever cherish.