As linguists they decoded baby cries into” I’m bored”, “I’m hungry”, “ My nappy’s wet”, graduating through toddler talk and on to reading between the lines accompanied by a working knowledge of teenage slang –for information only.
As diplomats they smilingly attended parent teacher interviews, negotiated the minefield of adolescent relationships and prayed that God understands what it’s like to parent.
As mediators they walked a daily tightrope answering the needs and relationships involved in being a mother or a partner, an employee, a friend and a sibling.
As peace-makers they were called upon to listen to competing stories with justice intersected by experience, masquerading as eyes-in-the- back- of my- head, and mixed with a dash of concern for the underdog.
As educators they heard the questions – weird, curly, repetitive, embarrassing and unanswerable though they sometimes were – and did their best to answer them, all the time knowing that one day the child will overtake the parent.
As psychologists they knew who needed a hug, intuited if it was time to hold on or let go and, most importantly, sometimes put housework on hold to fly kites in the park –or whatever.
As taxi drivers they shared a car with assorted young people, empty water bottles, take away wrappers and odd pieces of clothing, one eye on the road ahead and the other on the rear vision mirror in an effort to discern what is going on in the back seat.
As chefs they are still somewhere between My Kitchen Rules and Master Chef, welcoming extras to the table, familiar with a dozen ways to disguise vegetables and cook with mince as well as how to make a birthday cake that looks almost like one in the Woman’s Weekly Cookbook.
As healers they soothed the cracks in broken hearts and dispensed Mickey Mouse band aids, kisses and emergency visits to outpatients. Soothing broken hearts and lost dreams still applies.
As bankers they doled out pocket money in accordance with age and responsibilities, developed a keen eye for bargains and sighed when the mortgage and power bills came before designer – anythings. They probably still do!
As mystics they are now old enough and experienced enough to know that God is always there, in the joy of a family moment, the anguish of an unwanted diagnosis, in bone-wearying tiredness, when money is tight and in the flash of love –from whoever and wherever.
There is more than one way to ‘mother’. So, to all ‘mothering’ women, and men, never forget that you are God’s loving face to those you mother.