Every one of us emerged from our mothers.
But that, in the birth sense, isn’t what most of us remember and cherish most about our moms.
It’s our emerging into the development of a self that is far more important.
That’s not to say that dads are without a defining role.
Probably more than most kids, I spent a lot of time with my dad throughout my childhood and adolescence. He accompanied me when I sold newspapers at the local Veterans Hospital every morning. I worked as a shoeshine boy in his barbershop after school in the afternoons. We went to the YMCA together at the end of the day for exercise and a shower and then ate dinner together when we got home. All pretty special for both a boy and his dad!
But there was never any doubt in my mind – nor in my dad’s – that it was my mom who shaped me as a human being the most.
She was concerned that I, as an only child, would not be properly socialized, so she served as the den mother of three Cub Scout troops and one Brownie troop that met every week in the basement of our home.
She was the one who took me along to visitations of the sick and elderly and lonely in her role as a deaconess of our church and demonstrated how to be caring and compassionate.
She was the one who taught me the Bible verses to recite by heart, who made sure I was prepared for Sunday School, and who knelt with me at my bedside and taught me what to say, what to pray for, and to be sure I ask that God would keep me and all the other children of the world safe that night.
As important as my dad was in helping me become a man, I recognize that it was my mom who assured me that it was more than all right to nurture those human qualities that too often are assigned only to women – how to embrace both in order to become a genuine human being.
She also taught me that, from beginning to end, we human beings emerge from a sacred reality that has both masculine and feminine qualities that should both be honored in ourselves and others as we live our lives – our sacred lives.
We honor our mothers, not just on Mother's Day, but on every day, when we help each other emerge into that self that the Sacred Reality intends us to be.