She Is Woman: A Tribute to Mothers
Rev. Starlette McNeill*
This tribute was prepared for the mothers of Village Baptist Church and presented on Sunday, May 10, 2015.
|She is woman; “hear
her roar.” Hear her confess her faults, declare her
intent, make vows of fidelity and coo as she looks into
the mirror- face of her child. Watch her change her
appearance, remodel her outlook on life, re-arrange her
priorities— right before their eyes. It will take longer
for her to get dressed than to get her life in order so
that she can be mother.
She is woman; “hear her roar.” Hear her bribe with cookies or popsicles, lollipops or trips to the park or whatever you want. Just stop crying.
Toddler tamer, ringmaster and ringleader— singing “ring around the Rosie,” her pockets are full of broken cookies, stuffed with small toys to keep them occupied. She is a one- woman circus act, juggling work and play, dinner and nap time, self- care and the care of the little others that remind us so much of ourselves. It will take her longer to clean up the house and their faces than it will to make the sacrifice to meet their needs so that she can be trusted as mother.
She is woman; “hear her roar.” Hear her sing the alphabet song and teach them to tie their shoes. Her womb is their first room; this is why she cries when they leave for school. Still, she will pack book bags and lunches. She will hug and try not to hold on. She will wave and try not to beckon them home to her. It will take her longer to accept that they are growing up and to let them go though she knows that she is still mother.
She is woman; “hear her roar.” Hear her soften her voice for hard- headed teenagers in order to be heard. Uncompromising, she tries to fit morals and values, accountability and responsibility into the teenage mind. It’s a tight squeeze but she makes it fit. She makes it work, balancing checkbooks and the limited hours to be there for everyone else. It will take her longer to be present for herself than it will to accept that she does not have to hover. No helicopter parenting welcomed. “If you stay at the mall or the movie theater, everyone will know that you are my mother. Please leave. I love you.”
She is woman; “hear her roar.” Hear her proudly tell stories of their childhood to friends and spouses, boasting because their accomplishments are hers and she thankful that she got to be their mother. Candid and embarrassing, passionate and full of laughter, she becomes the central character. It will take her longer than to realize that she is not a supporting cast member than to accept that she is our heroine and mother.
She is woman; “hear her roar.” Hear her fight for her independence as the children she cared for now seek to care for her. “I am your mother; you don’t tell me what to do,” she says.
Now, hear your children roar; hear us that you have cooed and bribed and taught and comforted and boasted of. Let us have our say today. Yes, you are woman but you are our woman so let us see ourselves in your eyes today. We promise not to coo but we do declare our intent to love you and to be as faithful to you as you have been to us. It may take you awhile to accept this as you are always mother.
Yes, she is woman but she is always mother, mother- ringleader, mother- negotiator, mother- teacher, mother- mediator, mother- storyteller, mother- friend. She is mother in the beginning and mother ‘til the end. “Hear her roar.”