I have a confession to make, I am a Mama’s boy.
I have always been very close to my mother. I knew that deep in my heart, though I could not admit it to my High School friends with my head held high. After all, I was a typical teenager afraid to be called a ‘”Mama’s boy.
Now that I am all grown up and do not have as many hang-ups, I am proud to say that I am a Mama’s boy. If Mama’s boy means that my mother is perfectly comfortable with me. If Mama’s boy means she can give me a call anytime of the day if she needs anything and not be embarrassed by it. If Mama’s boy means that I too can run to my mother at this age, and she will not think I am abusing her or being too dependent on her even for my small needs.
I hope to believe that my mother is comfortable with me, even if I have been living away from home for 20 years now. I like to believe that she believes that I love her, even if I cannot spend as much time with her as I’d like to. Perhaps, a contributing factor is that I am the only child of my mother in the Philippines. I guess that makes me “her boy.”
Definitely, I know that I am Mama’s boy if we speak of Our Lady, too. That is another confession. I must admit she pampers me. I run to her for everything. And I mean everything. I am not embarrassed or afraid that she thinks I am such an abusive son. I am glad though that I have a hotline to her. I call on her morning, noon, and night, a countless number of times. She never fails me. She always runs to my rescue. The shameful part of it is I am not sure if she feels comfortable enough to run to me so that I can help in this task given to me by her Son, Jesus. I am not sure if she thinks I am a reliable enough son, worthy to be called “Mama Mary’s boy”.
It must be hard being an only son. Sometimes, I do feel the burden of being the only one to make tough decisions for the family. Sometimes, I wish I had my siblings here in the country to make my mother happier.
How difficult it must be then for a mother to have an only child, a boy at that. By nature, boys or sons, for that matter, do not stay home that much. They are the hunters, the breadwinners. In my case, my decision to give up family life to serve God and his Church did mean that had to give my responsibilities to my mother. Maybe, she had to do more letting go than I did.
Being a mother is a wonder. Mothers go through three painful stages, which happens at a given time like a cycle. I call these three stages: the waiting, the giving birth, and the letting go. Based on what I have observed with my own mother and other mothers I know; each stage is difficult and painful. But I believe the most painful is the letting go.
The waiting for a child to be born has its anxieties and pains. The difficult mornings when mothers can hardly pull themselves out of bed. The meals they have but actually do not have because they cannot retain anything in their stomachs. The anxiety brought about by a bout of cold or coming down with the flu. Questions like: “Will my child be normal, healthy, handsome, beautiful, successful?” crop up even when the baby is a mere fetus. Then the anxiety of being able to provide for the child’s physical and emotional needs could be such a burden on the mother while she waits for her child and on him. As the birth of the child nears, the aching back, the sleepless nights are constant reminders that yet another stage is about to begin: the giving birth.
Childbirth it is said to be one of the greatest pains of mankind. Miraculously, God had designed a way that upon seeing the child, the mother forgets the pain. Once the umbilical cord is cut, many mothers fail to understand that the “letting go” begins.
Now, there is a totally new independent individual, who will have a life separate from the mother’s. Yes, in the beginning, the child has to depend on his mother for sustenance and care. But after that, the child is pretty much on his own. He develops his own schedule, his own likes and dislikes and his own character. His smiling and crying is a decision he makes on his own. As the child grows in wisdom and strength, his personality takes on more definitive characteristics.
If Mama is wise, she ought to know how much help she can extend. She ought to know where to draw the line. This can be extremely difficult and painful. Mama is used to being there to give him food, clean his mess, and provide him with every need possible. But there comes a time when she must take a step back and say, “Not what I want but what you want. ” She must muster the strength to someday say as Mary said, “Thy will be done.” When things are not clear, the mother must be able to simply ponder these things in her heart as Mary did when she confronted Jesus after looking for Him and finding Him at the Temple.
For mothers, no matter if the umbilical cord has been cut, their child will always be their baby. Mothers’ eyes tend to be afflicted with a certain blindness. They cannot seem to see or do not want to believe that their baby is now five feet five inches tall and more. They cannot read their children’s diplomas that boast of Master’s degrees and doctorates. They do not see them, as presidents of companies or bishops or doctors or teachers. Mommies will always see their children the way they saw them when they were born. Mommies will always have a special place in their hearts for their little boy and little girl.
Mama Mary is no different. She treats us, each one of us, so special. There is no arguing about that. We are all Mama Mary’s babies.
Jesus Our Light