Fr George recently asked me if I wanted to write an article about Mother’s Day for his column in the bulletin. I thought I could just tweak the article that I had written a few years ago. But as I reread the article from 2016, I came to the realization that I had to rewrite it. Although it was only a few years ago, my daughters have transitioned from being teenagers into 20-somethings.
In some ways, I long for the days when my girls were babies. Yes, I vividly remember how physically exhausted I was, but it was so much easier to keep them safe; shelter them from harm’s way. And as a mother, there’s this natural desire to want to protect your children. You are probably familiar with the strong maternal instinct playing out in life AKA mama bear, iron woman…sometimes crazy lady. Even before your child learns how to walk, you worry about keeping them safe, such as how to strap them in the car seat properly, making sure there’s nothing in the crib that shouldn’t be there, etc. But then they start walking—driving—going off to college, and you realize that more and more, it is out of your hands. I’ve had to learn to let my children make their own decisions even if I don’t agree with them. But meanwhile continuing to love them no matter what. (I hadn’t really thought about it before but I wonder if God ever does the same thing with us. Shaking his head as we make a decision that isn’t going to be really in our best interest but always there with open arms.)
The protective instinct is forever; child becomes teen, which begets adulthood, but the protective instinct is forever. And now they are adults (How did this happen so quickly?!), making their own decisions, choices, mistakes, successes; and I am biting my lips, and occasionally wishing I had also bit my tongue! It is difficult watching your child make mistakes but there’s great joy and pride in their achievements, but through mistakes and successes, you continue to love them and provide support.
When I was listening to the Gospel last week, and thinking (i.e. fretting) over this article and reflecting on the conversation between Jesus and Peter, but in my head, it went more like this:
Do you love me? ….but I can..
Do you love me? ….yes, but I would..
Do you love me? ….ok, I get it…
How do I learn to love in this new way now that my babies are adults? I’m working on it.
Happy Mother’s Day!
by Pam Ferron
Director of Parish Life and Communications
Sacred Heart – Tampa