About 10 miles from our house is one of the few historic covered bridges in Ohio. It sits along Stone Creek, and just up the creek from a beautiful old Catholic Church - St. Philumena. It's a historic landmark in the county, and it's said to be haunted.
The air was cool and damp this evening - matching my mood - but I decided to get out of the car and stroll over to the cemetery that sits on a steep hill next to the church. I expected the grave stones to be old and crumbling, but to my surprise, there were many modern stones mixed in among the well cared for historic markers. Some ornate - lavish even - but some I noticed were plain, with words noting only that person's role was in life: "Sister of Charlotte." "Brother of Barbara." But even these stones were larger - a foot high, 2 feet across. Then my foot slipped on what I thought was wet grass, and I looked down to see. I was standing on this tiny grave marker - maybe 8-9 inches across. And I quickly sucked in my breath.
My reaction was one of sadness. I wondered who would ever mark their mother's grave with this little and insignificant piece of rock? But then - when I bent down to look at it and take a quick snapshot, I thought it was beautiful. Simple. Peaceful. "Mom."
I've been struggling lately with my own role as a mom - a working mom - and feelings of inadequacy - am I doing everything I can to provide my son with the things he will need to be a sensitive and caring human being? A good man? A good father? I fear the worst - that I need to keep improving, get him a better education, better things, access to sports and gadgets. Even though I know these won't make him a better person, I fool myself into comparing myself to what others are doing. And I'll be honest - I want to measure up, and sometimes it hurts that I can't do what some other moms do - financially, emotionally - sometimes I feel like I am out of my league.
But maybe it's much simpler than I am making it. When I pass away, what will I want my grave stone to say about me? Do I want it to tout my achievements, my roles, my loves, my beliefs, or even the educational choices I made for my son?
I know that if I had to pick one word, unpretentious, yet filled with the greatest achievement I could ever dream, what better word could I choose than this: Mom. All those other things don't matter. When I die, the thing I would be most honored for my son to say about me is, "She was my Mom."
And let's be honest - there's a distinction between "Mom" and "Mother." Anyone can be a mother, but not everyone can be a Mom. Sure, nature says I'm made for birthin' babies. But nurture says - hey lady, you need to make some improvements! So I'm going to keep this little snapshot of the "Mom" grave stone; it's simple and beautiful, and it will remind me that there are things in life that I need to teach my son, not just give him. My son doesn't need "things" as much as he needs his Mom.
Sent from my BlackBerry device from Cincinnati Bell Wireless