By Esperanza DeLaLuz
I hate to hear someone say that! Mothers do the most important job on earth when they raise healthy, happy, productive children. Abraham Lincoln, our great president, said, “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
What not everyone knows is that the angel mother to whom he refers is actually his stepmother. His birth mother died when he was nine and, the following year, his father remarried. Sarah had children of her own, yet she was a loving and devoted mother to all of the children, and she especially nurtured Abraham in his desire to learn and read.
This is a comforting thought to those of us who are stepmothers, aunts, foster moms, and grandmothers, or who are in other positions of nurturing. The task of mothering is not only the province of those who give birth. To “mother”—which is defined as “to look after kindly and protectively”—is incredibly demanding, and just as incredibly—and critically—important. To mother is a noble task and those who participate in it, to any extent, are doing a great and valuable work.
However, in the midst of diapers, tantrums, mischief, and defiance, it may be a challenge to feel that one is engaged in a noble task. Often it feels like we are in “survival mode.” Roseann Barr once joked that if her children were alive at the end of the day, she had done her job as a mother.
I know for every mother there are days which feel like that. On those days, it can help to remember Abraham Lincoln’s feelings about his “angel mother,” and recognize that someday it may be your influence that sways the world.
The next time you are deciding whether to scrub the crayon mural off the wall or frame it, remember Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, and mother on!
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