- Written by Jody Vickery Jody Vickery
- Published: 12 May 2017 12 May 2017
“Don’t get anywhere near that street! Do you hear me?”
“Yes, ma’am,” my brother and I called back in unison to our mother as we bolted out the door to play. After a week of rain the sun was finally back and we were ready to romp. Of course, we headed straight for the street.
There was a deep dip in the asphalt right in front of our house on Shadburn Avenue. After a big rain, water would pool up six, maybe eight inches. When passing cars splashed through it, a ten-foot-high wave exploded from beneath their fenders and crashed onto the shore of our driveway. My brother and I would try to out run the Shadburn tsunami. More often than not the wave caught us and left us dripping wet and laughing.
Roadway wave running was not the only or even the most dangerous outdoor activity Mom had to worry about. There was the time she found us huddled over something in the back yard, poking it with sticks.
“What are you two doing?” she asked, the second most frequently asked question at our house – right after, “Who did this?”
“Look, Mom,” we answered, “these worms are sticking their tongues out at us.”
We had turned up a nest of copperheads.
Then there was the time she discovered that we had made Molotov cocktails by pouring gasoline into empty Coke bottles. We had stuffed the bottle openings with dry pine straw for fuses and were one match strike away from tragedy. Thanks, Mom.
Once, a motorcycle broke down in front of our house. While trying to repair his bike, the rider got his hand caught in the sprocket and lost three fingers. He came to the door, bleeding profusely, and Mom called an ambulance for him. But – and this remains the only thing I hold against her – she would not let us go look for the lost fingers. They were, after all, out there somewhere along that forbidden road.
Which brings us back to Shadburn Avenue, the deep dip in the asphalt and the order to stay away from the street. The one we disobeyed.
We waited at the curb for the next car. There it came. Splash! We turned to run, screaming hysterically, and there she stood, right in the middle of the driveway with a “you’ve-had-it-mister,” look on her face. She was holding a three-foot long switch. We stopped dead in our tracks.
But the wave didn’t.
It washed over us in all its glorious fury.
And then it happened.
She started laughing. She tried heroically to suppress the smile, but it broke out on her face like rays of sunshine fanning from behind the clouds after a week-long rain. I don’t recall whether she switched us or not. She should have, of course. All I remember is our Mom standing there with a switch in her hand and laughter on her lips.
Which goes to show that moms have a lot to teach about God just by the way they interact with their children. That’s not new information, though. It’s old. As in Old Testament.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bend down to feed them, (Hosea 11:3 – 4).
As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted, (Isaiah 66:13).
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands, (Isaiah 49:15 – 16).
From saving us from our own foolish decisions, to balancing discipline with tenderness, to weeping when we weep and rejoicing over our mere existence, moms are a window into the character of God himself.
Happy Mother’s Day.