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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)

TITLE: Lacking true definition.
By Larry Griffith


Looking over the calendar this morning I am suddenly aware that Motherís Day is coming up soon. My own mother passed away almost fifteen years ago now. I think of her often. Not only on her birthday or on the date on which she died. Like most other people I suppose, she comes to mind for no apparent reason at all sometimes. Her influence never went away just because she left this world. In a way, time has made it even stronger.

Just out of curiosity, I looked in the dictionary to see how it defined Ďmotherí. As I suspected, they came up way short. Their definition of mother started off with Ď a female parentí. Then they went on to define mother as Ďa woman of authority or a superior in a religious communityí. Like a Mother Teresa, I suppose. After that the dictionary gave other definitions of the word mother that I wonít even try to describe or discuss.

I read all the given definitions, even looking in another dictionary just to find that they missed it too. The online dictionary was no better. No available source of information came anywhere close to capturing the thoughts and feelings that I have when I hear the word mother.

This realization is not necessarily a slam against the people that put our dictionaries together, but rather a glowing tribute and honor to my own mother. It is not the fault of the folks down at Merriam-Webster that their definition of mother is so lacking. After all, as far as I know, none of them ever met my mom. That is a shame, because if they had met her, their definition would have been a lot longer and a lot more descriptive. There is no way they could have defined mother the way that they did if they knew what I know. So I wonít hold it against them. I think maybe I should just define the word mother for them. Listen up Merriam. And, you too, Webster.

Mother: Godís bearer of life; the vessel that God used to deliver me, and my siblings, into this world. From the day of my birth she was my source of sustenance. She was my caretaker, my diaper changer, my nurturer, my clothier, my protector, my teacher, my nurse, and my doctor. She was also my first, and best ever, storyteller.

In our home she was the cook, the cleaner, the decorator, the planner, the chauffeur, the scheduler, and sometimes, the drill sergeant. As I grew so did her list of titles. Things like homework monitor, dirt checker, room inspector, report card examiner, dietitian, personal trainer, and, just when it seemed that it I needed it most, she would become my biggest cheerleader.

When I became a young adult, her influence continued to grow right along with me. Ever changing and adapting to meet my current needs. Financial advisor, sometimes my bank, career counselor, moral compass, spiritual advisor, marriage counselor, and every once in while, my dry cleaner as well.

I have no doubt, that if she were still among the living, this list of titles would have continued to grow as I have grown as a person. I also know that, like Merriam-Webster, and despite my best efforts, even my definition of mother is lacking. Some things in our lives, and some special people, cannot be accurately described with mere words. Itís just not possible.

The last title, and perhaps the most important one of all, started the day that Mom left this world. Side by side with Jesus, she is now the 'preparer of a place in heaven for me.í Thanks for everything, Mom. Iíll see you later.

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Sara Harricharan 05/01/08
This makes me want to give every mom out there a big hug of encouragement. I wish webster and merriam would listen up and put the real definition out there! Great job, I was completely engaged in this and glad for the ending. Nice. ^_^
Donna Powers 05/01/08
A very sweet tribute to your mom. I can see by the way you describe her that she is/was a special lady. Good work