Gone Never Forgotten By DL Banks
December 27th 1933 September 25th 2007
Eternally My Gift
If you can’t go back to your mother’s womb, you’d better learn to be a good fighter.
In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe. My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her. But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run. The truth is, every son raised by a single mom is pretty much born married. I don’t know, but until your mom dies it seems like all the other women in your life can never be more than just your mistress.
I loved it when my mother would smile. And I especially like it when I made her smile. I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know. I am evidence of my mother’s strength, you know especially if you are a rebellious knucklehead and regardless she has always maintained her sanity.
Children are knives, my mother once said. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows. That was the thing about my best friend. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours. No one is ever quite ready; everyone is always caught off guard. Parenthood chooses you. And you open your eyes, look at what you’ve got, say “Oh, my Josh,” and recognize that of all the balls there ever were, this is the one you should not drop. It’s not a question of choice.
My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you. A mother’s body remembers her babies-the folds of soft flesh, the softly furred scalp against her nose. Each child has it’s own entreaties to body and soul. You realize that you habitually thought of Mom when something in your life was not going well, because when you thought of her it was as though something got back on track, and you felt re-energized. It is a fundamental truth that the responsibilities of motherhood cannot be successfully delegated. No, not to day-care centers, not to schools, not to nurseries, not to babysitters. We become enamored with men’s theories such as the idea of preschool training outside the home for young children. Not only does this put added pressure on the budget, but it places young children in an environment away from mother’s influence. Too often the pressure for popularity, on children and teens, places an economic burden on the income of the father, so mother feels she must go to work to satisfy her children’s needs. That decision can be most shortsighted. It is mother’s influence during the crucial formative years that forms a child’s basic character. Home is the place where a child learns faith, feels love, and thereby learns from mother’s loving example to choose righteousness. How vital are mother’s influence and teaching in the home—and how apparent when neglected!
May each of us remember this truth; ‘one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God.’ Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one. The expression in her eyes was bitter as nightshade. ‘You ask me about regret? Let me tell you a few things about regret, my darling. There is no end to it. You cannot find the beginning of the chain that brought us from there to here. Should you regret the whole chain, and the air between, or each link separately, as if you could uncouple them? Do you regret the beginning which ended so badly, or just the ending itself? I’ve given more thought to this question than you can begin to imagine. My dad had limitations. That’s what my good-hearted mom always told us. He had limitations, but he meant no harm. It was kind of her to say, but he did do harm. God knows that a mother needs fortitude and courage and tolerance and flexibility and patience and firmness and nearly every other brave aspect of the human soul.
When you’re pregnant, you can think of nothing but having your own body to yourself again, yet after having given birth you realize that the biggest part of you is now somehow external, subject to all sorts of dangers and disappearance, so you spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to keep it close enough for comfort. That’s the strange thing about being a mother: until you have a baby, you don’t even realize how much you were missing one. Piece by piece, my mother is being stolen from me. Of course mothers and daughters with strong personalities might see the world from very different points of view. One of the best and the most painful things about time traveling has been the opportunity to see my mother alive. Wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back did not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my mother. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from her mom like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore. My mother’s life was way too heavy for me.
Consider a small child sitting on his mother’s lap while she reads him a picture book. The picture book opens to a width that effectively places the child at the center of a closed circle – that of mother’s body, arms, and the picture book… That circle, so private and intimate, is a place apart form the demands and stresses of daily life, a sanctuary in and from which the child can explore the many worlds offered in picture books. Despite all of our society’s technological advances, it still just takes one child, one book, and one reader, to create this unique space, to work this everyday magic. Compassion is like mother giving love to her children. Mother’s ways are higher than others, even when everyone rejects, mother accepts with her arms open and wide. I loved my mother too,’ I said. ‘I still do. That’s the thing – it never goes away, even if the person does. You can’t love your mother or father if you don’t also have the capacity to grieve their deaths and, perhaps even more so, grieve parts of their lives.
Until now the only love that I really believed in is a mother’s love for her children.
Happy Birthday Mom Love Always DL