Family and Friends/My Relationships/Parents/Teen Relationships When Flowers Aren’t Enough: Loving Your Mama by Dillon Duke I am a mama’s boy and I think everybody should be, too. Growing up, my dad told my older brother and I to treat our mom like a queen because she was the only female in a house filled with football, comedy movies, and a lot of loud noises. She deserved to be treated well because of the chaos she put up with. She cooked, drove my brother and I to practice, and supported us in all of our hobbies. These are all amazing feats in their own right and deserve to be recognized, but our mothers, however, do so much more than what we saw as children. In fact, the sacrifices our mothers make extend far beyond errands and chores. Mothers give up an immense amount of time, effort, and emotion for their children and it’s about time we recognize the profound gift that is. Behind the Scenes of Motherhood Emotionally, mothers are connected to their children in a way that others will never be able to fully comprehend. It’s more than just being able to read the faces and mannerisms of their child; it’s the fact that mothers will often feel the exact emotions their child is experiencing. You don’t have to be best friends with your mom to have this intimate connection. A study showed that regardless of the quality of your friendship, mothers feel the pain their children experience. At first I thought that this was rubbish. My mom has bigger things to worry about than me. Over time, though, this beautiful truth has been revealed more and more. As I grow into adulthood, I’ve recognized more and more moments in which my mom has worried, prayed, cried, and laughed with me. She has sacrificed time and energy to get me where I’m at, and stood by me through my accomplishments and failures. But her motherly care has extended to such a point that her emotions change based on mine. While I was aware of this phenomenon when she was right next to me, recognizing that she feels such strong emotions for me, even when we weren’t geographically close to one another, has been a gift. The Mom Experience Mothers are the only ones who have the opportunity to be with a child from the moment their life begins. They see every single characteristic of their children as they grow, develop, and mature from day one. Moms have the ultimate vantage point to see their tiny child grow into a full-blown adult. All of this being said, it only makes sense that our mothers know us better than we know ourselves. Not only do our mothers experience the joys and sorrows of growing up themselves, but they go through it multiple times when they see their kid encounter the same events in their own lives. Although it’s our first time dealing with these emotional struggles, our mothers are enduring them with us. They know these struggles are a part of life and can offer us nuggets of wisdom based on their own experiences. My mom always notices if I’m upset or stressed. Even if it is something I haven’t recognized yet, she has her finger on it and helps identify the problems I didn’t even know I had. Often times, they are problems similar to the ones she faced when she was my age. It’s like having a therapist that can also cook a mean lasagna. All of these things are incredible in their own right but they aren’t what makes my mom, and mothers in general, so special. Mothers are incredible because they continually put their children’s needs in front of their own. While many of us see the sacrifices of our own mothers, it is most perfectly expressed by Our Lady, Queen of Heaven. Holy Queen Mary, the woman who, as a teenager, said yes to God’s plan and took on the responsibility of being a mother to the Messiah, is the queen example of why moms are amazing. She braved the shame and doubt cast on her from those who didn’t believe she was a virgin. She kept Jesus safe while fleeing persecution (Matthew 2:13). She felt the pain and suffering Christ endured during His Passion. Everything she did, she did for her Son, the Son. Mary did more than birth Jesus; she felt what He felt. She felt His joy and happiness but also His sorrow and anger. She saw Jesus enter Jerusalem, celebrated and praised, and watch Him carry His cross to His death. She witnessed His suffering for the sins of those around her. And yet, she never lost hope in His promise to make it good because she ultimately knew that’s what He needed to do. Mary sacrificed the normal life she would have had and instead, carried Jesus from the womb to His death on the cross, remaining faithful through His resurrection. This is no small task and had it not been for her “yes,” who knows where we would be right now. She is the ultimate example for us, but more so for our mothers. Super-Moms At Mass on Mother’s Day this year, the priest said, “There are no perfect children and there are no perfect mothers. Rather, there are mothers and children who simply love.” Being the best mom or best child does not mean you don’t make mistakes but instead, is just a matter of the love you have and share. I desperately want to make my mom happy by achieving success in all areas of my life. I want to make her proud by getting good grades, receiving scholarships, and just doing well in life. While these things are all great and surely make my mom proud, what she wants above all else is for me to be happy. Ultimately, she wants me to know authentic love and share it with those around me. It doesn’t make sense. My mom has sat through countless band concerts, halftime marching band shows, action movies, and video game sessions all because she loves me and wants what’s best for me. She has loved me and sacrificed so much for me, all she wants in return is for me to embrace and share love in my own life. This past Mother’s Day, there were thousands of fancy brunches, bouquets delivered, lengthy Instagram captions, and cards sent out to treat the many mothers in the world. While these are all nice gestures, our mothers, just like Mary, don’t care nearly as much about these things as they care about our good. They sacrifice so much for us and what they want in return, above anything else, is for their children to be happy and full of love. The best gift you can give your mother is what they’ve wanted since your birth — to live fully and share the joy in your life with those around you.