Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Your mom.

I have stilled my soul like a weaned child to its mother (Saint Benedict's Rule, Chapter 7).
Halloween, by Jean C. Wetta
    Last summer, when I went home to visit my family, we watched a really awful movie with Macaulay Culkin called “The Good Son.”  Surprisingly, it turned out to be a movie about a really bad son.  In fact, this particular son was a homicidal maniac; and at the end of the movie, his mother ends up holding him by his hand off the edge of a cliff.  In her other hand is a really nice kid.  She can’t hold on to them both, so she has to choose between them.
    After the movie, I turned to my mother and asked her, “If it were Dad and I hanging off that cliff and you had to choose, who would you hold on to?”  What really surprised me, was that she didn’t have to think about the answer.  She immediately said,"You.  So I took a different tack.  I said, well what if it was Dad or Kristen*?  But again the answer came instantly.  “I would choose my children over anything and anyone in the world.”
    Kids may find this hard to believe, but I’ve never met a mom who would answer otherwise.  I’ve never met a mom who even hesitated with her answer.  That is a terrible—a, terrifying—kind of love.
    There’s a painting in my home that my mother painted when I was a child.  It was Halloween, and my sister and I went out to go trick-or-treating, and some of the bullies on our block stole our candy.  My mother, an artist, painted this the day after.  It is a depiction of my sister and me in our Halloween costumes walking through a forest.  Behind us are the bullies, and just behind them, barely visible, their own bodies are among from the trees, suspended by their necks.
    That is a terrifying kind of love.  And while it may surprise some teenagers to hear that a mother could have such deep and violent emotions, I’ll bet it doesn’t surprise their moms at all.  Moms understand this formidable bond between mothers and sons.  This is why the most powerful prayer in the world is that of a mother for her child.  All we sons can do is be grateful and try to respect it.  Try to respect them.
   That said, there will come a day when, in spite of all that love, your mother will annoy you.  That’s okay.  It’s genetic.  If your folks didn’t annoy you, you’d end up living at home the rest of your life and then everyone would be miserable. Just try to remember about half-way through that multisyllabic “Mo-o-o-om,” that she really can’t help herself.  And after all, she is God’s icon of love to you.
*Kristen is my sister.