Milk Spilled with Love

One year on Mother’s Day, I received a card from my son which read, “In your honor on  Mother’s Day,  a glass of milk has been spilled on a dinner table for old-time’s sake.”   Our cat used to  camp out under the kitchen table at meal time, waiting for milk.  With seven children in the household, it was inevitable that at least one glass of milk would go.  More often  two to three glasses would spill.    Our cat took care of some of the mess, but there was plenty left to clean up.

Parenting has never been an easy task. While digging through some boxes one day, I stumbled across an old set of house rules I’d written. It brought back memories of  the family tension which prompted it. My daughters were having a hard time co-existing in the same bedroom.   The list set out guidelines for living together. One rule went, “No hitting. No slapping. No tickling, poking, picking, blowing, pinching, biting, spitting, or touching without permission.” There were also instructions for clean clothes in drawers and dirty clothes in the wash. I don’t remember that the rules were kept particularly well. I do remember the necessity of making them.

Today, I watch my children doing their own parenting.   I see the  little problems, knowing more are coming their way. I think of  how history repeats itself. Parenting is work. Hard work. There is a reason we honor those people who raised us, loved us and cared for us in our growing up years. We were fortunate if the caring people in our lives were our parents. We were even more fortunate if they brought us up in such a way, that we knew we were loved by God. For some of us, it was a grandparent, a neighbor, an older sibling or a teacher who befriended us.

Whoever it was that nurtured us, Mother’s Day is a good time to remember their gifts, to celebrate their love and care. It is a time to be grateful for those who filled in, when our own parents were not able to.     Blessed are mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and friends who in loving us, showed us God’s love as well.

“Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.” Proverbs 22:6