As I write this, it is Mother's Day. Our pastor's custom on this day is to invite one (and only one) member of the congregation to volunteer a tribute from the lectern to his or her mother. I have always felt I owed this to my mother, and have some vague guilt about not hopping up to speak during the interval between the invitation and the moment when someone else seizes the day. But in that interval I also find myself perplexed to find nothing more to say, really, than "She was a good mother," for that to my mind is a very close to perfect summary. While it would not mean much to those who didn't know her, it would be mean a great deal to those who did.
If anyone cared to gather and analyze my writings, he might wonder whether I even had a mother, for my father looms very large in them as my first and most powerfully defining master. He was the person who gave me things to think about, taught me how to think, and furnished a living example of the product of such thought. When I am doing mental labor and displaying its product, I am speaking from, with, and to my father, not my mother.
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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