Wednesday, December 21, 2005

What a Mother Means to a Son: the Nurturer (2)

It is very difficult for women to end the nourishing relationship. One can see why when one considers the pattern of care for her boy that begins in the womb and continues for almost two decades of her son’s life. There are points, though, at which Mom must accept a change in the special connection she has with her son. It need not disappear, but it will change when the boy begins to grow. He must then spend time with his father to learn what it is to be a man. Beginning in early childhood, he must spend large amounts of time with Dad. Chopping wood, shooting baskets, going to evening church with Dad—all this must take place in order for the boy to inhabit his masculinity. It will be difficult for her to do so, but Mom must let her son go, to an extent, in order for him to become the man His creator would have him to be.

What a beautiful thing it is to see this happen. I love to see Dads spending special time with their boys. I know how special that is to their sons, though their sons do not yet possess the faculties necessary to communicate just how much Dad means to them. Such sons have been well cared for by Mom, well nourished by her, and now it is time to spend some time with Pop. The boys are delighted to do so. I’ll often be shooting baskets at the gym when a father and sons come in. What ensues is generally comical. The boys, usually quite young, throw the ball everywhere but where it should go. They toss it in the air and look stunned when it comes down and bonks them on the head. They watch wide-eyed as Dad dribbles and shoots the ball with ease. They run and jump and fall and tackle things and express a physical joy known only to the young. It’s a beautiful thing to see, a father and his boy spending time together.

I can see in all of this how it could be especially hard at times to be a Mom. Mom spends so much time with her boy, pumps so much into him, and then must watch as he gradually and necessarily pulls away from her. Yet though her boy grows up and spends more time with Dad, more time with friends, more time with balls and books, she must always know that her son’s personality and character are a direct reflection of her care for him. Like the man who begins and develops a great company and then watches as others take it to prominence, so Mother knows as her son grows into a strong man that it is her care that forged his character. It is her gentle spirit that created his sensitivity. It is her love for reading that fuels his own. It is her funny sense of humor that drives his quirkiness. It is her spiritual concern that deeply affected him. The son will not necessarily say or even know this as he grows. But in his words, his deeds, his very life, he speaks to his mother, and tells her that her nurture of him is appreciated. His life communicates what words do not. Mother, your care was honorable. Know that as the years pass and the boys grow, your nurture was not in vain.


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