children • education • parents
relationships • marriage • the elderly


Mother’s Day Presence

May 9, 2019 by

two women and a little girl in Fox Hill, an intentional Christian community in Walden, NY

Every year people agonize over what to give the mothers in their lives: A trip to Bermuda? A bottle of fancy French wine? A recipe book? Water-skiing in Florida? Or maybe just a nice bouquet of brilliant flowers?

From what I have seen, the two best presents are free: time and respect. Quality time with her husband and her children and grandchildren is something that, from my experience, a mother really treasures.

The wine and flowers might help here, but relaxing in the backyard, without the usual distractions, is far better than a Caribbean cruise where you might anyhow be quarantined with measles. Or take her to a restaurant and enjoy going down memory lane (not forgetting to anticipate the future as well).

Two years ago, I lost my mother. I was surprised how devastated I was – after all, ninety-two is a ripe old age, but truth to tell it was like being hit with a tornado. Do we always only appreciate our mothers after they are gone?

Do we always only appreciate our mothers after they are gone?

Far too many kids these days mouth off to their mothers, and it is wrong and tragic. No matter the circumstance, nothing changes the fact that we must honor our mothers, those who gave us life and those who loved us and raised us. Mom is not always right, but should always be the subject of awe and respect.

When I was living in Pasadena, CA, on the corner of Fair Oaks and Navarro (at the time a high-crime area) as a confused and sometimes-angry young man, Vera Mae Perkins – wife of civil rights pastor John Perkins – became my second mother. She always insisted on serving me meals (with style), but was also ready with a sharp reprimand when I needed it. And I’m sure she prayed for me as well. This is the gift of mothers: constantly nurturing, but also holding us to high standards, intolerant of laziness or complaining. I will always feel privileged to have had those five months with Vera Mae.

So, this Mother’s Day, if you want to prove to your wife, mother, or grandmother that you love them, give them the best presents of all – time and respect. (And send me the wine.)


About the author

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer

Simon Mercer is a free-thinking Anabaptist, would-be poet who lives at the Maple Ridge Bruderhof.

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