Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mom the Postmaster

  For centuries, mothers have been the disperser of news.  If you wanted to know what was going on in the family, mom was the one to ask.  There's no official title or assignment for this job. It seems it would just happen into the nurturing laps of any mom who cares about what is going on in her family. That would fit most mothers.  Mothers keep tabs on their children. It begins with the first stirrings of kicks and elbows in the womb. "Ooph, she is active today, she just rolled over onto my bladder." Mom will tell anyone who will listen.
   It continues as a baby is born, begins eating solids and walking. Moms just keep mental notes of all achievements and unfortunately sometimes bad behaviors, and share them with anyone willing to listen or ask. 
  Generations of mothers collect news from their husband, children, extended family and friends and dispense tidbits of needed information out to family members.  Sometimes moms can get a little too generous in their news gathering skills and this can lead to gossip which a good mother needs to guard against. But for the most part, mothers are passing along words of wisdom learned from their own mothers and grandmothers and this child's experience along to the next siblings who could learn from the lesson.
  In my own family I recall the many letters my grandmother would write to my own mother about how all my aunts and uncles and cousins were doing.  The letter was usually three or four pages long, written on that small letter writing pad of long ago, smaller than a stenographer page. It would always amaze me how she could write about my mom's 10 siblings and their families and only contain it to 3-4 of those small pages.  I mean that was over 100 people she was in charge of. But my grandmother was very German; concise, not gossipy and she got to the point.
  My own mother was not so much the letter writer, but the phone was her ally.  She kept and still keeps my siblings and myself abreast of all going on in our lives by calling or rather, we have to call her to get the scoop on what is going on.  Whether illness, travel, children's events, my mother is usually pretty on top of the news which is really good considering she is going on 85 and has four children, four in-laws families and 20 grandchildren,  three grandchildren in-laws, and a great grandchild on the way.
  As a mother myself of 31 years, I have dabbled in writing news, phoning and texting news to my kids.  My family has a group text we pass along messages all the time as well as photos and humor.
  The biggest similarity of all these generations of mother news gathering is the prayer chain. It's also the most important aspect of this communication; to ask all the other kids to pray for a certain child and/or their family at certain times of distress, health issues, or whatever.  We all know that the group prayer has an enormous impact on each of our lives.  None of us could face impending disaster or life decisions without knowing the rest of our family was praying for us.  It's funny though because while it doesn't seem right for any one of us to ask for prayers from each other, all we have to do is say something to mom and the prayer request goes out from there.  It's just understood that's how it works.
  As my own mother gets older, there are some facts that sometimes get jumbled up with my sisters and my brother and me. We have come to figure out when that happens a well timed phone or text message is needed to clear up things.  We don't mention to my mom when this happens but just take it as an endearing aging foible.  Recently my mom fell and suffered a very minor stroke and spent time in the hospital.  Needless to say this upset the news balance. My brother and sisters and I had to begin the habit of checking in with each other instead of asking mom for the news.  It really made each of us stop and think about how important it is we keep up communication with each other. 
  With that said, my cousins and I are discovering the same thing. As aunts and uncles age and begin their trip to heaven, we are left with less and less news sources for what's going on in the extended family. While I dislike social media there is a very good side of things like Messenger for getting the word out about an aging aunt or uncle needing prayers or whose child is getting married.
  Such is technology.
  But the fact remains, that mothers are the receptacle of not only bringing children into the world but of keeping those same children informed and reminding them to pray for each other.  I cannot imagine what life would be like without the prayer chain in our families.  My husband lost his mother almost ten years ago, and while his dad does his best at keeping up on the news, my sisters-in-law have begun texting my husband and myself when prayers are needed for different things.  These communications in families are important and even more important is the message that we need to pray for each other. 
  So thank you Mom for bringing us the message. Not only of the family news, but of the Lord's Good News through prayer.

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