Although I said goodbye to my mother almost two years ago, I’m celebrating her this mother’s day nonetheless. But I’m not just thinking back to the many ways in which she loved and shaped my life, but also remembering a message she repeated to me over and over again: “Pay attention to the mothers! They’re the ones who are making the biggest difference.” She never tired of reminding me and my brothers and sister that we ought to watch, listen to, and show our support for the women who give others the irreplaceable gift of mothering.
So this mother’s day, I’ve been thinking about some extraordinary mothers. Last week, I met Special Olympics Team USA Athlete Molly Hincka and her mother, Kerry, who was told at her daughter’s birth that she would never be able to walk or talk. Now, at age 20, Molly runs six miles a day, competed on her high school cross country team for four years, and is proudly representing the United States at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens this summer, where she will race in several track and field events.
I know Kerry speaks for all moms when she says “I never saw the things my child couldn’t do. I only imagined what she could.” If you want 60 seconds of inspiration about the belief of a mother, check out Kerry and Molly.
And I’ve also been thinking about Dawn Terrill. I first met Dawn many years ago before she was married. In recent years, I’d lost track of her as she had 4 children and a full life. But last week, I received a note from her and her husband announcing that she was pregnant with their 5th child who had just been diagnosed with Trisomy 13, one of the most challenging of genetic conditions. Most children with Trisomy 13 suffer from severe disabilities and many live only the shortest of lives. Dawn and her family are facing the pain of this diagnosis with a faith and a spiritual wisdom that is so full of love that it brought tears to my eyes. If you want a reminder of a mother’s unconditional love, read Dawn’s post.
And finally, I’ve spent all day today admiring my wife and the mother of our 5 children, Linda Potter. In a few weeks, Linda and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage and we dated for 9 years before that so we’re not exactly new to each other! But no amount of time has dimmed the joy Linda brings me, especially as I watch her mother the amazing children we’ve been blessed to have. They’re poets, athletes, dancers, friends, leaders, explorers, mystics, and all around loving human beings. They’re all those things in large part because they’ve been mothered by a woman who is all that and more. If you want to a reminder of the joy of mothering, I hope you will have a chance someday to meet the incomparable Linda Potter.
So Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. My mother was right: “pay attention to the mothers.” How lucky am I to be able to live in the presence of so many wonderful mothers who remind the world of the power of love.