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By David N. Calvillo
I dedicate my first column to my “Mother Dear” and the other dear mothers in my life.
My Mom was my first love. Although it has been five years since she passed safely home to God, my ache to see her elegant smile, to look into her tender brown eyes, or to hold her graceful hand has not waned.
My “Mother Dear”, as I would playfully call her when I walked into our family home in Weslaco, taught me how to love. She was my conscience. She, along with my Dad, taught me the value, the inherent goodness, of hard work for family.
As a teenager growing up in in the 1970s, I sometimes grew impatient at her unending concern for me. I often wondered why she worried so much about seemingly everything. Over the years, I came to know that her worry reflected the reality that I, like all of her loved ones, were her first and primary concern. Her mission in life was to care deeply about us – to take care of us. So we were always on her mind.
Mom’s gift of premonition among our family is legendary. Just ask any of us about the Texas lottery that she won – but my Dad lost. As a result of that extra sensory tool at her disposal, I could never lie to her. I knew that when I looked into her caring eyes, they would look deeply into my soul and she would be able to know if something was awry. It wasn’t a “Vulcan mind meld” or even a “Jedi mind trick;” it was a Mom’s sense of communion with, of knowing, her son.
She always found a way to say or do something with me that would shock me with its piercing insight. Maybe it was as simple as buying that Farrah Fawcett poster for me when I had not even told her that I would really like one or how she knew things about me that I had not even dared to acknowledge to myself.
Although most of her life she worked as a professional educator in the Mercedes and Weslaco, she always made time to cook breakfast, wash and iron our clothes, and plan and painstakingly execute our backyard birthday parties. Her fierce and unending energy for all she did for her children was fueled by prayer and her Christian faith.
Another dear mother, who shares these exemplary maternal traits, is my wife, Valerie..
It is fitting that her favorite super hero is “Wonder Woman.” As beautiful and statuesque as Lynda Carter’s 1980s movie character ever was, my sweetheart is also infinitely smarter and more caring.
She home-educates our children and this permits her the opportunity to devote almost all of her waking hours to our children. A Catholic homeschooling Mom views education, not as a profession or a state mandate, but as a divine vocation – an opportunity to spend eternity with her beloved children. The lens through which she selects curriculum for the subjects that the children study is their formation as productive members of God’s kingdom.
Like my own “Mother Dear,” my dear Valerie demonstrates her love for her children with her tireless efforts for them and their constant presence on her mind. Homemade meals, customized birthday parties, and boundless energy devoted to the details of daily life are the hallmarks of Valerie’s dedication to our children. This diligence though is only made possible by the strength she derives from daily Mass on EWTN and dedication to prayer and study of the faith.
My own Mom’s greatest legacy to her oldest son was to bequeath me a love for His Church and a love for the mother of Jesus.
My “Mother Dear” taught me that Jesus of Nazareth also had a dear mother. Her name was Mary.
In recent years, I have come to know that these same timeless maternal traits that I personally witnessed in my Mom, and observe in my wife and my sister, Veronica, are the same qualities and realities that were embodied in Jesus’ mother as well.
I am sure when Jesus bequeathed me His mother, indeed to all Christians, in John 19:27, He intended that gift to tell us “I love my ‘Mother Dear,’ too.”
Happy Mother’s Day, “Mother Dear,” and to all the dear mothers. We love you and appreciate you.
An edited version of this column first appeared in The Monitor. On Mother’s Day 2015.