Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Where's the Mommy?"

     We recently hosted a young guest for a few hours.  He had fallen asleep on the way to our house, and woke as his mother was gently placing him on a bed.  He was understandably upset, and reluctant at first to come to my arms instead.  But he was soon soothed as he watched me fix what turned out to be the same kind of dinner he had just eaten, and calmly took his place at our table.

     Some squabbling among the boys during dinner disturbed his equilibrium, however.  After the meal, he tearfully asked to follow the boys outside to play.  I found him a jacket and tried to deliver him to Dandelionslayer's side, but the child would not allow me to retreat to the dishwasher.  He wanted me to stay near him.  Eventually he became involved in the Frisbee tossing, and I managed to slip away.  But when everyone came inside again, he began to ask a question fretfully.  Something about Mommy.  "She's not here; she'll be back soon," the boys assured him.  But that was not quite what he was asking.

     "Where's the mommy?" the toddler repeated.

     He needed to see me again.  He knew his own mother was not available, but that there was another mommy who could comfort him for the time being.

     Children can recognize someone with a "mother heart," as Julie B. Beck put it.  Someone who can comfort and nurture.  Someone who will wipe their tears, or other spills.  Someone they can trust. 

     Our Father in Heaven has sent us to this earth in various situations.  My mother was the best for me, of course, and I'm trying to be the best mother for my children.  But caring is not restricted to literal mothers.  I am grateful for the grandmothers, aunts, teachers, and friends who help my boys feel safe and loved, and who guide me along, too.

     Today I salute all the mommies!  Thank you for your loving service.

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