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Mothers add peace, order, kindness to the world

May 10, 2002|BY LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

"Why are you a mother?"

My 3-year-old cocked her head to one side and waited for my reply.

"Because being a mother is an important job, and I like feeling important," I said, swooping her up in my arms and kissing her button nose.

Since those words tumbled out of my mouth a few weeks ago, I've had time to contemplate all the important things we mothers do.

Knowing whether a stray game piece goes in the Chutes and Ladders box or the Candyland box is important.

We mothers add order to the world.

At times we feel like personal hygiene monitors. We plead, "Don't touch anything," in public rest rooms and "Please don't clean the sink with your toothbrush," while at home.

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We mothers add safety and cleanliness to the world.

It's important to teach a child not to hit, kick, bite, trip or otherwise hurt another person - even if he is your brother - just to get your way.

We mothers add peace to the world.

Knowing which kid likes creamy peanut butter and which one likes crunchy is important.

By remembering your preferences, we teach that your happiness matters. Let this serve as a reminder for how you should treat others.

We mothers fill the world with kindness.

Knowing how to lovingly arrange a bouquet of dandelions picked by chubby little fingers is important.

We mothers add beauty to the world.

Reading a picture book for the 50th time is important. We know you take pleasure in the familiar.

We mothers make the world more comfortable.

Knowing that it's important to be on the sidelines, in the stands, in the audience, we try to be there for our kids, day after day, night after night.

By showing our faithfulness to you, we hope you will be faithful to others.

At the same time, learning not to be offended by comments such as, "Can you go now, Mom?" is important.

By providing you with some space and privacy, we're teaching you to offer the same consideration to those around you.

We mothers teach tolerance every day.

By sharing the fulfillment we get from our jobs and hobbies, we teach you that work can be satisfying.

We mothers give you a sense of purpose and contentment.

We know that a bare refrigerator door is just an art gallery in the making. By not tossing your carefully scribbled pictures, we're teaching you to appreciate the efforts of others.

Everyone has a place on this planet, and we mothers don't want you to forget that.

Remembering to answer a child's angry words with calm, loving ones is important. And while sometimes we fail you in this respect, we certainly aim for the high road.

We mothers teach self-control.

Knowing how to answer a question with, "I don't know," teaches you that there are some things in life you just need to figure out on your own.

We mothers encourage inquisitiveness.

As if most kids aren't inquisitive enough already ....

Recently, as I was tucking in my 3-year-old, I saw her head tilt and knew what was coming next.

Another question.

"Why do I hug and kiss you all day?"

I shook my head and turned my hands palms up.

"I don't know. Why do you do that?"

She smiled and threw her arms around my neck.

"Because I love you soooooo much."

And that is the most important thing of all.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at lisap@herald-mail.com.

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