Dr. Alwin Spence
I woke up this morning singing Lord Kitchener’s calypso ‘Wife and Mother’. Some of us from the islands, though not as old as I am, must have sung it, danced to it and laughed at the simple and light-hearted lyrics. Let me refresh your memory:
If your mother and your wife are drowning,
I want to know which one you would be saving.
Well for me, I’m holding on to my mother
And my wife, she will have to excuse Kitchener.
I can always get another wife,
But I can never get another mother in all my life.
There are four verses to this song, but despite any leaning toward a preference for the wife, the overwhelming vote is for saving his mother for the obvious reason. Kitchener concluded that the question is a crazy one. But his choice is undoubtedly his mother.
Mother’s Day celebration is always an important occasion for me. First I am a father and a grandfather, but I am also a ‘ Mommie’s boy.’ My two older sisters drilled that in me, oftentimes with a punch or a push when mother was not watching.
She passed on, not by chance, in my arms, at the young age of 60.
As you know, many fights in elementary school started with someone disrespecting somebody’s mother. Mothers are sacred, not to be touched or brought into any childish dispute. It was almost like a ‘ right ‘ to defend the honour of your mother and this defence was gender neutral.
So for me, Mothers’ Day is really a time of reflection on the wonderful time I spent with my dear mother, and I tend to go along with Lord Kitchener that the question was crazy, and that most people may try to sidestep it, hoping they will never be faced with such a choice.
I grew up in a home with a stay-at-home mother, and take it from me, whenever she goes out on errand, or business, we felt lonesome because her presence at home meant so much to everyone.
What Does Motherhood Really Mean?
It is said that a mother shares in the creative power of the Almighty, that is conceiving, carrying for approximately nine months, and giving birth to another human being.
This is the beginning of MOTHERHOOD. There is now someone to be nurtured, loved, and for whom sacrifices must be made.
For most mothers, motherhood does not end
but because of the love and bond between a mother and her child, there comes a time for letting go, allowing the child to fly on its own.
The mother/child bond is hard to break.
A second important point to be celebrated is the special motherhood of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was chosen because God knew that she would do the nurturing and make the sacrifices and most importantly the letting go.
She understood as she watched her son on the cross. Her strength, her bravery kept her steadfast and she never failed Father God in taking the right care of His only son.
A few years ago those of us who attend church regularly started to hear from the pulpit the terms, ‘ Father God, Mother God .’ What was this, and from where was this coming? This was new. Mother God!! But we soon recognize that all mothers, including Mary, share in the creative actions of God.
Mothers work closely with God, and therefore the love, warmth, kindness and nurturing of all mothers,
collectively is a reflection of God Himself.
It therefore follows that God’s nature includes all the maternal instincts and qualities. God alone has this creative power which he shares with the male and female thus bringing them together for the purpose of reproduction.
So, God is the source and model of both male and female therefore it is alright to address God as Father and Mother. So, mothers must be assured that they are made every bit in God’s image and perhaps even more so than those who only mirror the Fatherhood of God.
In the “good book” we read that God is love and that mothers are the highest implementation of that love.
It is, however fitting and right that on Mother’s Day, we reflect on the social application of motherhood which is ‘Peace.’ Mothers’ Day was created, not to celebrate mothers, but to celebrate Peace. It was conceived by a mother who protested the killings of World War One. She was distressed over the killings of their sons and daughters by other sons and daughters.
Co-opting other mothers, a movement started until President Woodrow Wilson pronounced the second Sunday of May as Mothers’ Day.
This day is to honour the wishes of all mothers to stop the killing of their children. Mothers, unlike anyone else, can feel the pain of their children fighting and killing one another.
The rampant killings, particularly in the United States, where there is a determined effort to oppose every type of gun control, can be related to the epidemic of mass killing of children and adults. How long is this going to continue? Maybe it is time for mothers, once more to show their collective power and stop this aggression. The role of the mother as a creator must again be respected.
To honour mothers let me turn again to my own mother. She always warned me not to run because the terrain was dangerous should one fall. It was a daily reminder, don’t run, walk. I ran and fell and suffered a deep cut right below my right knee. Frightened by the gushing blood, I ran to my mother. At first, she was angry and gave me a swift slap, but soon settled down to tend to her son’s pain. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I could see her tears rolling down her cheek.
As I grew up, one day I reminded her of this accident. She said she was crying because she slapped me, which she should not have done, but more importantly she was feeling the physical pain I was experiencing.
I did not understand until I had my own children and felt their pain, their laughter, and their sadness.
Believe me I never thought of running to my father with my bleeding knee. I wonder why.
HAPPY, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.