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The “Jump Up” Mother

“Look-it, Mom!” The words sang through the ajar front door. Louisa had something exciting for me to see. Out of habit, I jumped up, though still in my nightgown, and ran out into the front yard to see a big Oriental Poppy just bursting forth from its pod, the brilliant orange tissue petals unfolding. That was worth seeing, as is every other “look it, Mom” that comes my way.

When I returned to the house, my oldest daughter Julianna questioned me, “Mom, why do you always jump right up and go see what the kids want to show you?” I thought back to the days when I started that habit. My, it has been nearly 30 years of “jumping up”!

One day, while bending over my little one’s latest enchantment, and seeing the thrill in his baby eyes, I thought about the future. I thought about how quickly those baby delights are set aside for little boy interests, and how suddenly little boys turn into big boys and big boys turn into men. I determined then and there that I didn’t want to miss a single one of those “Look-it, Mama” calls. Not a one. So I promised myself to get up, to jump up happily with a smile on my face, and see the world’s discoveries through the shining eyes of my child. And to consider it a privilege that my child wants to share his sweetest enjoyments with his beloved mama.

Nowadays, the “Look-it, Mama” calls come much less often, as my seven children are growing, growing . . . gone. Well, perhaps the grown children have turned to more mature requests for my attention, as they still want to talk to me about their discoveries and accomplishments. Thank goodness I still have Louisa calling “Look-it, Mom”—giving me the privilege of “jumping up” to share her delight and seeing the world anew through the eyes of a child.

Now, I don’t want to induce guilt. I’ve moaned many a time, “Honey, bring it to Mom to see!” (that never works, by the way) or “I’m too tired” (which becomes their parroted answer back to you when you make a request of them, unfortunately). I haven’t always jumped up. But, all in all, I think if a mom is available, it makes a huge difference in her child’s life.

I also don’t want you to feel that a mother must be at her child’s whimsical beck-and-call. But there is a magic in “jumping up”. For all that effort, I think those “jump-up’s” pay back a hundred-fold. I believe that choosing to get up cheerfully is an act of love. It firmly impresses upon our children’s minds that they are the most important work we could ever do, the most precious people in our lives. They can see that sharing their lives and experiences is our priority. Maybe that is why we become their best childhood friends. Maybe that is why they still want to share their joys and accomplishments with us, when they are grown.

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