As an educator and mother I’ve always been inspired and intrigued by the words of children. They truly do teach us as much as we teach them, even if it sounds cliche, it’s accurate and honest. It’s also accurate that these little words of wisdom and perspective are usually sporadic and come completely unexpected. In one simple car ride the lessons and unpredictability that come from tiny mouths shined brightly.
Three kids and myself tucked away in our large SUV out to run a quick errand. We’ve barely made it out of the neighborhood when my seven-year-old son makes a sincere and confusing comment.
“Mom, I’m so sorry you don’t have a mother. It’s so sad.”
He’s not completely incorrect, but there are definitely errors in his thinking. My mother passed away a few years ago. Writing that feels like a punch to the gut, but the reality is that she is no longer here. Before I can muster up a response to his comment, my wise and compassionate nine-year-old daughter takes the lead.
“She has a mother. Her mother is in heaven, but she’s always her mother! A mother is always your mother, always.”
I’m stunned by her words. Uplifted by her perspective. Enlightened by her faith. There is no time to voice my expertise, as their conversation continues without me.
“She’s always your mother, no matter where. She could be in heaven, in the ground, or in Antarctica, but she’s always your mother.”
She continues, as if giving her own motivational speech to anyone who will soak up her words, “She’s always your mother, even if you get older and no longer live with her. Even if you don’t need her quite as much, she’s always your mother.”
Everyone is silent for a few moments. I have tears, though they can’t see them from the backseat of the car. I’m heartbroken for the need for the conversation, but filled with immense pride in the response. Their acknowledgement of life, love, grief, and unique relationships is encouraging. It shows they know the limitless aspects of love, and even the importance of a legacy.
As I try to compose words worthy of a response, my son beats me to the punch. “Yeah, she’s always your mom, even if she’s bit by a rattlesnake, even if she travels to space or Antarctica, even if you can’t see her because she’s been abducted by aliens, she’s always your mother.”
And it’s perfect, and it’s true, and it’s hilarious. Quite frankly, it’s better than anything I could have come up with at that moment. She’s always your mother, friends. Always. No matter here, or there, or a million places we know nothing about or fail to comprehend, she’s your mother.
Take it from a child, she’s always your mother, no matter where. Antarctica, space, or heaven, she is your mother, always.
A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.