HONEY ~ “Your mother is your best friend.”
I just HAVE to tell you about my mother… I have never known another woman like her; I will never know another woman like her.
You see, my mother is special inasmuch as she gave birth and life to sixteen children (twenty one, if you consider the children she lost during pregnancy,) and even moreso because besides giving life to them, she has given so much more.
Since today is her birthday, and she is turning *ahem* I won’t say…how old… Let’s start with her family. She was born as the oldest of three girls. She was openly favored by her father, an expansive man, who loved to have fun and have a good laugh. Her father often put her in a situation of discomfort, when he would buy her expensive gifts, but fail to get these same gifts for her two younger sisters. She would chide him, “Dad, I can’t wear this until you get one for each of my little sisters.” And, eventually, he would get them so she and her sisters could enjoy his generosity.
My mother met my father when he was still in college, and she was a teacher who had completed college. In fact, it was my aunt and uncle, who were dating, and convinced both my father, (my uncle’s roommate), and my mother to go on a blind date. My mother said she had to cancel a date with her boyfriend in order to meet my father, and did so reluctantly, since the guy she was dating at the time was the coach of the local highschool football team.
My mother said my father was good-looking, and right away she thought he was handsome. They talked for a long time that night, and in fact, on that first date, my father asked my mother to be his girl. On the very next date, he asked her to marry him. They both decided that they should neither plan to have a numerous family nor should they plan to have a small family, but simply accept the children that God would send.
After the birth of my oldest sister (who hates when I introduce her that way), Maura, she began calling my parents what they called one another, “Honey” as my Dad called my mother, and “Joe” as my mother called Dad. Later, “Joe” was changed to “Dad.”
After this start, my family always refers to my mother as Honey, both her children, grandchildren, and her most recent great-grandchild…in fact, many of my friends over the years have called her the same.
Certainly, every mother has some words of wisdom that they share with their children. One phrase my mother would often say was, “Your mother is your best friend.” I always knew that was true, but now more than ever, it becomes evident to me. There is always the gift of going on, of self-sacrifice, of joy, that my mother has brought to my life. I feel grateful for these.
Today, as I thank God for the gift of her life, I thank God for the gift of her faith. I remember being a child, sitting in the back seat of the car with my brother, and listening to Honey tell us that we were called to be saints. I remember posing opposition, “Honey, I can’t do that…it’s too hard.” She told me it was something every Catholic and every Christian is called to do. I still wonder about that sometimes…a woman explaining the Universal Call to Holiness to children who were five and six years old, and yet we knew what she was talking about and wanted to be better people because of it.
I can’t even begin to say how lucky I feel to have Honey as my mother. I will always be grateful to God for this gift – one of His greatest to me. I will also always understand the affection that Jesus had for His mother, and will always feel great devotion to Mary. Seeing her devotion to Jesus, and her presence there at the foot of the cross, I know that is exactly where my mother would have been, had any of us been in trouble…