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"Made to Cling..."

Reflecting candidly on his life and the impact his mother had on him, Abraham Lincoln once said, “I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” Powerful words of personal reflection coming from a man that played such a critical role in our nation’s history. A mother myself, my heart resonates with his words. Over the many years, through devoted acts of love, prayer, even in the face of troubling concerns, I have practiced the art of “clinging.” I believe a mother’s powerful love to be a deep, flowing river; unsearchable to most, and often times, beyond explanation.

Consider the true story of Carolyn Isbister, an expecting mother who was told by doctors to prepare for the worst as they assured her that her tiny premature daughter, Rachael, would surely die within minutes after birth. After being born, little Rachael weighed just over a pound, with her heart, sadly, beating only once every 10 seconds. Heartbroken yet determined, as any mother would be, Isbister asked to have just one last cuddle with Rachael to savor the precious moment and lasting memory. The doctors gladly granted her wish, and with that, Isbister picked up tiny Rachael, cuddled her close and began “clinging.”

Then, it happened … tragedy turned to triumph! To the amazement of all the doctors, Isbister’s last wish to “cuddle” actually saved her baby’s life. The warmth of her mother’s skin kick-started Rachael’s heart into beating properly, allowing her to take tiny breaths of her own. Four months later—the baby that was so tiny that the doctors gave up on her life—was on her way home, thanks to a precious life-saving last “cuddle” from a clinging mother. Such is a mother’s love—deeply complex, even defying logic, as this account wonderfully portrays. There is no doubt in my mind that as a mother, Isbister, even in the midst of her soul-wrenching tears and darkest fears, closed her eyes and bombarded heaven with prayers of undying love and desperate hope on behalf of her daughter. She literally made ALL the difference.

The same holds true for mothers in the wild. Did you know that a mother emperor penguin has been known to walk as many as 50 miles to find food for her babies? A mother elephant, the largest land mammal, has one of the strongest maternal bonds on Earth. They nurse their calves for four to six years (oh my!), and they have been known to stay with them more than 16 years, even after they are weaned, visiting them throughout their lifetimes.

Yes … mothers cling, and the world is better for it. We hang on and hang in there with our kids, whether they are fighting for their very lives as newborns or fighting us for the “right” to live their lives the way they want to, regardless where their decisions might lead them. Mothers continue to love, encourage, pray for, admonish, argue with, and yes, even “cling” to their most precious assets: their children and loved ones. For moms … life is all about their relationships. As an anonymous author once said, “Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while but their hearts forever.” I think this is Lincoln’s sentiment exactly. Love and celebrate mom on Mother’s Day. She’s worth “clinging” to.

Clinging in love,

Annette Briggs

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