“You know how to milk a mouse?” My grandmother giggled as she squeezed my hand into a fist and clamped down on my pinky.
I cocked my head, puzzled. To my dismay, it was too late. She tightened her grip on my pinky, bringing me off the chair shouting.
Grandma roared with laughter. You’d have thought it was the first time she’d pulled her little prank. She yanked me to her chest, kissing my head, and patting my back. “Works every time. Now you know I love you.”
Grandma had her first child at fifteen and they stair-stepped year after year until she had a brood of seven. She died in 1995. Her bull-headedness and pride were balanced by her work ethic and genuine love. Grandma had raised a big family, taught them well, and when she died, every one of us gathered by her bed holding vigil. Twenty-one years later, the last living child of my grandmother is . . . my mother.
Mom turns ninety this year and the reality to my brother and I is knowing our days with her are numbered—not by health, but by age. She is gifted, healthy, active, and now the matriarch of the family. Not just of her own family, but of my dad’s family too. (All of dad’s siblings are gone as well and Mom cares about their children just as she cares for her own and those of her siblings.) She keeps in the loop with all the cousins. Mom has become the mother of all the living in our family.
Adam had the daunting task of naming everything in the world. I imagine after a multitude of animals, trees, and plants, he probably wished Webster’s existed sooner. But when he looked into the eyes of his lovely mate, her name slipped out effortlessly . . . EVE, mother of all the living. She was given a place of great esteem—mother of all the living. At that moment, her place of respect was written in stone.
My grandmother pulled a few pranks on us kids, but as she lay dying, there was not a person in the room who held an ill feeling toward her. They loved her, cared for her, and respected her until her last breath. I have no doubt it will be the same with my mother.
Being a mother doesn’t always mean she’s given birth. A mother is the woman who, regardless of your faults, has loved you unconditionally. She’s made a difference in you. Knows you. Cares.
Find that woman you call mother. Share with her the birthright of your appreciation. For God placed her in highest esteem. Mother of all the living.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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