When we first got a family dog 14 years ago, I was deep in the throes of mothering many small children, so bonding with our new pet was not high on my list of priorities. Dan handled most of the puppy training, and kids were in charge of cleaning up after him, letting him out, and feeding him. I had nothing against dogs, but I had very little time or energy to spare for nurturing non-human creatures in those days, so that’s just the way it needed to be.
One night while our puppy was still small, though, we had a loud thunderstorm. Because I had not sought out much of a relationship with the dog, I was surprised to discover I was the one he came to, trembling with fear at the sound of thunder and lightning. He scratched at our bedroom door, and insistently and repeatedly came to MY side of the bed, whining and pawing for MY attention in his moment of need.
The scared little dog needed a mom, and he knew where to find one. ME. I was the mom, and he knew it.
I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences of finding yourself playing a motherly role in unexpected ways and places. It’s an awesome privilege and responsibility to be “the mom” wherever we go, isn’t it? I was reminded of this fact recently when I read these words from Edith Stein (aka St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross):
Finally, woman’s intrinsic value can work in every place and thereby institute grace, completely independent of the profession which she practices and whether it concurs with her singularity or not. Everywhere she meets with a human being, she will find opportunity to sustain, to counsel, to help.
If the factory worker or the office employee would only pay attention to the spirits of the person who work with her in the same room, she would prevail upon trouble-laden hearts to be opened to her through a friendly word, a sympathetic questions; she will find out where the shoe is pinching and will be able to provide relief.
Everywhere the need exists for maternal sympathy and help, and thus we are able to recapitulate in the one word motherliness that which we have developed as the characteristic value of woman. Only, the motherliness must be that which does not remain within the narrow circle of blood relations or of personal friends; but in accordance with the model of the Mother of Mercy, it must have its root in universal divine love for all who are there, belabored and burdened.
We are the moms. Wherever we go, the world knows us and needs us. Where will you bless others with your “momness” today?