It seems that when you go to the zoo, the people you arrive with are, more or less, the same people you travel with all day. One of our traveling companions this week was an older woman on a scooter. I caught her watching us several times, and I either smiled or made some small, cheerful remark each time. She had been admiring the children’s behavior, especially at lunch time, which gave her a solid block of time to observe us. After we packed ourselves up to continue our journey, we stopped for a few moments at her table to chat.
She was very direct, asking questions about our home life, and then she said, “You’re doing a good job with those children!”
“Thank you,” I replied.
Then she added, rather pointedly, “I guess that means your mother did a good job raising you.”
I considered this for a moment, as no one in all these long years has ever suggested such a thing, and I’d never taken the time to consider it myself. But of course there is – must be – truth in that thought, for we are each of us, inevitably, the product of our own mothers. I nodded and smiled. “I guess she did!” I finally answered. “I’ll be sure to pass the compliment along.”
And I did.
And the lesson here for those of us still in the trenches? Our work as mothers and wives offers little in the way of worldly recognition or reward, but it echoes down through the generations, and though we may never be known outside our own families, our children and our children’s children and their children, too, will hear and know and love the small stories of our lives. You are a beautiful woman, and what you’re doing matters very much.
But maybe take a moment to thank your own mama.