“To whom much is given, much is expected.” –Cindy Finney

I’ve lost track of the number of times I have heard that phrase from my mom. But, unlike most

messages heard over and over, this one has never lost its power for me.  I find myself thinking about it again and again. It is something my mom has said to me for decades, though she hasn’t said it much in the past few years. I guess that is due to the maturing of our relationship, going from child to friend, or some combination of both. For me, my mom has given me so much that I could never meet her expectations. But the best thing she has given me is her example, and that is something I get to see almost daily.

My mom raised seven of us: four boys and three girls. At 5 feet tall and maybe 110 pounds, she packs more strength and commitment than someone doubles her size. She has a spine of steel, though her back bothers her now and again.

I’ve seen my mom stand strong at the funerals of her closest friends, celebrate the weddings of her children, and adapt to chaotic and unpredictable changes in her life. I’ve seen her raise more children than she bore, treating them as her own. I’ve seen her change the lives of more people than I can count; people from Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, Eritrea, and more. She has created more positivity in this world that can be measured; she cannot possibly know the number of people she has helped. And, she just celebrated her 20th year as a small-business owner.

Every time we approach Mother’s Day, I often think one day is not enough to celebrate all the moms in our lives. Moms often don’t get the credit they deserve, and their contributions are taken for granted, even becoming mundane. I think of my mom and my wife, and I know I haven’t given them the credit or the acknowledgment they deserve.

So, to the moms who never complain, who never say no, who never figure that someone else will do it, who commit to their family, who never receive enough recognition, and whose value is never completely comprehended, none of us could have made it as far as we have without you.

To my own mom, who is entering a new phase of life as a grandmother, you do not know all the people you have helped. You could never know all the encouragement and support you have provided to my family.

You’ve never said no, you’ve never said it was too much, and you’ve never made us feel like a burden.

For you, Mom, on this Mother’s Day, allow yourself to experience what you have given to all of us. To be taken care of, to do what you want, and to enjoy it without any guilt, if only for one day.

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