Living Like A Mom
By: Abbie Kilgore
Since coming home for the summer break, I have found myself in a world of mothers. It has been quite a year for my growing family.
First, there is Liam. He is my three-and-a-half-month-old nephew. He is easily my favorite human. While he is just about the greatest thing I’ve ever seen, he is also completely helpless. Kenzie, his mom/my sister, has mastered the art of late night feedings, diaper changes, and soothing sessions.
Courtney, my oldest sister, is now a mother figure to an eighteen-year-old, Abbii. I call Court and her husband “fast-pass parents,” jumping right into taking care of a soon-to-be college student. Abbii is incredibly strong. She has faced more adversity in her life than anyone should have to. With that adversity, Courtney has learned to love someone with experiences completely different than her own. There have been many life talks, attitude adjustments, and a big learning curve for everyone involved.
Then, there is my mother. Last week I hurt my knee, and currently, the injury has me bed-ridden. What a way to start summer – my initial thought. But then I was introduced to a brighter side of the circumstance. For the summer vacation, I am getting to spend some sweet time with my parents at home. Upon feeling discouraged by my newfound immobility, my mom said that the timing of the injury was actually great. She pointed out how difficult this injury would have been had I been off at school or living on my own. Sitting there, I realized my helplessness. She had gotten me blankets, fixed my meals, checked on me numerous times — all without complaint or question.
In a world of moms, I have gotten a small glimpse of what it looks like to raise and care for another person. The thing that stands out the most to me is their selflessness. It isn’t a normal selflessness, like letting your friend pick the restaurant or doing the dishes for your roommate once. Mom-like selflessness requires self-abandonment. There is a constant deferral of needs and wants. A constant giving of attention and time. A constant thoughtfulness that weighs heavy on their minds. I see it in Kenzie’s ability to wake up at 3 AM with her son. I see it in Court’s endless prayers over Abbii’s life. I see it in my mom’s continual nursing of my injury when she has so many other things to do.
And then I think of my life. How many times have I not yielded to what would be best for other people? How many times do I forget to consider what others may want? How many times do I put myself first? Almost always. And here I am, thinking I deserve some kind of friendship award on the rare occasion I think of others. I want, so I do. I’m comfortable, so I stay. I’m not comfortable, so I leave. I. I. I. My decisions are based on myself.
For most people in my phase of life, that is the case. That’s not completely wrong. It is a time of figuring life out, planning for the future, and getting to know yourself. But I feel like we miss out on opportunities when we forget that our decisions influence others. For the unmarried twenty-something, it is easy to view life through a telescope. We tend to only see what we are facing, blind to those around us.
But what if we figured out life with others in mind? How can I use my strengths to better the lives of those around me? How does this degree bring joy to others? How can I care for the uncared-for with my job? The moms in my life have been examples of sacrificial selflessness. They have met the weak where they are, and given them dignity. They have given completely of themselves to comfort those in their care. They have allowed their own wants, and even needs, to come second to someone else’s, all for the sake of making that someone else feel loved.
But selflessness comes with a price. The most selfless people often go unseen. This is where many flee from being selfless. In times when I find myself not thinking of others, I am also finding myself in a place of insecurity. If I don’t make something of myself now, if I don’t get what I want now, if I am not heard in this moment, then I will miss out on my life. Why do I find myself measuring my success by reaching my own wants and desires? If all I ever did was work to make something of myself, then the only person that I’m trying to benefit is myself. In the end, I think that would lead to feeling like I don’t amount to much. Yes, selflessness comes with a price, but selfishness ends up being more costly.
You will influence people around you, whether you see it or not. The decision? How you will influence them. Will they continue to feel unnoticed because you decide to overlook them like everyone else does? Or will you lay aside your comfort for just a moment, and choose to dignify them with a moment of selflessness? Your life will be full of decisions like this. What will you choose?