Happy Mother's Day!
Rod Smith, a fellow columnist and e-mail buddy from Indianapolis -- he writes a weekly Saturday column with The Indianapolis Star -- has written a wonderful tribute to mothers that I'd like to feature in Bob'n'Along today.
Having appeared in the Star the day before, it follows:
"Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I challenge readers to prepare something unique and beautiful for their mother. As part of that unique gift, and in acknowledgment of the mothers of our community, I invite every son or daughter to read the following as a blessing to their mother at lunch (on Mother's Day):
"You are an anchored woman who lives and loves deeply. You know how much you need others and how much others need you. Knowing your boundaries, you are unafraid to define yourself with clarity and care to everyone. Having the uncanny ability to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, you are able to live mostly from your strengths. You have never expected a problem-free or crises-free life but through diligently and courageously facing smaller problems as they have occurred, you have equipped yourself for whatever life brings.
"You listen without speaking or interrupting, you embrace loved ones without question or judgment and you see the value of all people without hesitation. From the multiple of voices within and around you, you are able to distinguish the voice of the sanity, self-awareness and meaningful self-sacrifice. You are no martyr, yet you are occasionally willing to put yourself out for your children.
"You can talk yourself down when anxious, pull yourself together when afraid and gather your internal resources when you feel threatened. You tell the truth to yourself and others because you are honest. While you try to avoid denying the truth you see and know around you, you understand the fragile nature of some relationships and exercise extreme gentleness and self-control.
"Entering the world and the experience of family and friends, listening, appreciating and valuing people without passing judgment, offering advice or trying to change what you see, comes naturally to you. You are intimate but not pushy, inquisitive or inappropriate and always respectful of the freedom of others.
"Mother, you can relate to and relax with people of all ages, races and persuasions. You are above none, below none.
"While family means everything to you, it is easy for strangers to feel as if they are a part of your family. 'Hospitality' could be your middle name.
"Having mourned after your own disappointments and losses, you have risen to face your life's challenges with courage. You have been afraid but you are not crippled by fear. You look fear directly in the eye and it usually flees. You are victim of none and you make victims of none. You have very few heroes. The ways of men and women, the clay feet of all humans, the fallibility of 'heroes' is well known to you. Enthroning others is not something you quickly do.
"You've done everything possible to understand your childhood and you have taken full responsibility for (who) you are. Your childhood is well known to your grandchildren. You are unafraid tell them, even at the risk of boring them, every detail because you know the day will come when they will be glad to have known all about you.
"You are humored by your absentmindedness, harmless errors, naîvete and forgetfulness. You are saddened by cruelty that is around you but are never, yourself, cruel. You are the eternal optimist, even welcoming your increasing age with grace. Clearly, you say what you need, understanding it might never be yours.
"You welcome the natural patterns and transitions in life using every circumstance to grow in patience, understanding and self-knowledge. You completely accept yourself as you are. While you can embrace necessary suffering, as a result of loss, ill health and all else that life offers, you do not offer yourself to unnecessary suffering.
" 'Mother' is your honored title used by your children; 'empowered woman' comes to mind when your children and others think of you. In your relative youth or advancing age, you remain committed to your faith, your friends and your future, unafraid to confront enemies, create passion, pleasure and possibilities both for others and yourself."
In addition to writing his column in the Star, Rod Smith is executive director of Open Hand, Inc., of Indianapolis, and a family therapist. Contact him at Rod@OpenHandInc.com.
I'll have another Bob'n'Along column Monday. Have a great week!
Exponent and Telegram Editor Bob Stealey can be reached by phone at (304) 626-1438, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.