Tag Archives: Mom

Best Words to Say to Sons

The other day a friend on FB posted a short video entitled “The 3 Worst Words to say to your Son.” They are, according to the video, here, “Be a Man.” They come from the Representation Project and the goal, from the website, is to change the perception our media portrays of men and women.
Been thinking on this…
There will always be fathers who, frankly, are idiots. Can’t change that. But, the initial video bothered me because no alternative was offered. It didn’t say what we should tell our sons. And I find, in our society, boys are not encouraged to be boys. People don’t seem to appreciate that male emotional expressions are different from female… or that it is okay. We haven’t just feminized emotion. We’ve said that’s the way emotions look. We are remarkably clear in our society on what is wrong with males, and seemingly most particularly that they are male. No one seems to be seeking to demonstrate how potency, resolve, camaraderie, honor, silliness or even ironic humor are all worthy of respect and encouragement. Not to say women can’t experience these things but they don’t seem to make the same emotional expression of them as most males (figuring we are all on a spectrum of one sort or another with majorities at ends). The manner of emotional expression in males has not been sufficiently explored or appreciated.
So… here are some words you can say to a son…

It’s okay to be silly.
Rough housing is fun.
Show me what you made.
Seek after wisdom.
Make a friend.
Let’s play.
Can you take me with you?
Do you want to help me?
Try it again.
Don’t worry about crying.
All men cry.
We’re going exploring.
I’m taking you out of school so we can go to the movies.
You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.
That’s how human beings work.
That’s not how human beings work.
Wow! That must hurt. Want to give another shot in a minute?
Tell me a story.
When we marry somebody we become partners in life.
Choosing that can damage your soul and that’s not a good thing to choose.
Always kiss your mom good-bye.
Honor yourself.
I love you.

It says Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. Seems to me that if that’s true, some of these kinds of words were probably said to him as well. Just some thoughts…

And Bless The Hands…

As I watched the hands smooth the hair back, rub the cheek, roll the frail body, shift the pillows under our mother’s knees, arm, head, tuck the covers up, spread the blanket back I could not miss the blessing of my sister’s hands. I couldn’t miss blessing my sister’s hands.

When I was a kid it always bothered me at church dinners how people always prayed to bless people’s hands. What about the rest of them? Watching my Mom at work in the kitchen I always figured that whoever cooked did it with fully body contact. I tend to be the primary cook in our house these days and I know there’s a whole lot of me that goes into getting the meal prepared. So, what’s with the hands?

As a kid I didn’t put together that when you blessed the hands you were blessing the ones who participated in putting this experience together, all the hands that did the creating work. The attentive nature that infuses hands became apparent to me only as I grew older. It was the joy in receiving the care expressed through these hands that called forth blessing.

And so that makes me think this day, two weeks after my Mom’s death, of my sister Maggie and her good, gentle, creative, loving and blessed hands. Maggie is magic in her own ways and amazing to most anyone who meets her. If I was to list for you the assortment of things my sister gets done in a day and the directions she moves in a week, you could claim I was lying. But it is hard to exaggerate Maggie’s days.caring-hands

This woman might be on a plane to China or on a train to New York or driving to Boston going to conferences or business expos or factories or offices doing deals and developing projects for products that anyone reading this has seen, touched or dreamt about. Anything from toys in McDonalds Happy Meals to Kardashian handbags have felt her imprint. But to find a more attentive and available grandmother, you’d have a chore. Her household is a warm, decorative comfort and if she’s not doing emails to the other side of the world, while catching up on shows she’s wanted to see, she’s designing a crafty element to go into the shop she and her husband run on the side. She makes you breathless.

And I would want you to be breathless when I add that she took care of our Mom for the past years. Whether it was driving to my parents’ home, bringing them into her home or helping to settle our Mom in a care center after our Dad died, she was there. She saw our mother almost every day, taking care of her laundry, making sure that her appointments were kept and understood, that her medications were being handled appropriately, and that those who didn’t understand her either did or were reassigned. She lived as our mother’s caregiver knowing every element of every day even while on the other side of the planet, but usually when she was within minutes of attending to her.

So I bless my sister’s hands that blessed our mother’s days with a nurturing resistance to inevitable. Each finger-tip touch made our Mom’s moments rich with life.


Into Eternity

Everything has been done carefully… just full of care, because this is the human being from whom other humans came. This is the human being who held and nurtured and cared fully for us and our friends around us when we could not care fully for ourselves. This one knew how to create security, safety, home, interest, sensitivity, insight and passion for living, like she was magic. This was the human being who handed out the tools of identity every morning that let one know who one was, how to carry oneself and where one belonged so we could find our way back whenever the world’s feverishness or apathy carried us off.

Worth more than rubies, she tore up carpet and painted walls, refinished floors and guided the work of handymen on how it would be done. She designed roomfuls of beauty, never neglecting interiors, the exquisite nature of food, and the delight of the handmade and so she taught beauty into our souls. She collected drawings, stories, reports, written excuses, daily life souvenirs, and praises from teachers or friends or herself. She boxed them, preserved them long beyond others memories to be given into the hands of those she treasured so we could see how far we came. She gave us our history in tangible forms which only said, you matter, your worth cannot be forgotten and you have always been cherished. But what it actually told us was love and love and love and love.

The Lord had the chance to teach her soul how life works and so our wounds from the world, from choices, from almost inexplicable risks were each responded to but were never a higher priority than our selves. Our traumas were lived through and our embarrassments survived but falsity was faced with ferocity that outgrew her size. Friendship and loyalty were like her name in the voices of those who knew her.

Her frailties, limits and short-comings were all experienced, joked over, disregarded or endured. None of us pretended that what was there wasn’t actually what we were experiencing, but it was never a higher priority than her. And so today, these days, these years of gentle fading, these minutes of passing breath… have been handled carefully… full of care… for they provide us with a full flavor of faith, hope and love… and the fullest taste is love.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
From “Abide with Me” by Henry F. Lyte
Darlene Iola Flynn Kohler
October 10, 1925 – October 9, 2013