Saturday, May 11, 2019 1:00 am
She'll always be your biggest defender - no matter what
Mothers are fearless. I'm not surprised by stories of women hoisting immobile vehicles or dashing into fiery buildings or entertaining the ceaseless barrage of questions from their 6-year-olds on the qualification requirements for the 2020 Euro Cup. It's breathtaking to see firsthand; it's staggering to know such mettle exists in this world. Consider my mother, the “church lady.”
Those who know her know she is a righteous woman. But the above moniker was facetiously bestowed after a Little League game in which a questionable call concluded a beautiful afternoon. As we players stood around comparing our post-game souvenirs – baseball gumballs that predicted whether we would hit a home run or fly out to left – the umpire and a few coaches, my father one of them, disputed the call in question. The young arbiter responded with a torrent of unseemly language.
My mother, appalled by such a showing in front of the children, requested that the young man mind his mouth. A challenge emanated from the umpire's side: “What are you going to do about it, church lady?”
A strong wind kicked up, onlookers squirmed, two pigeons died.
Honestly, I've long forgotten much of what happened that day. At the time, I wondered why my mother, a mere spectator materially unaffected by the outcome, got involved. I recall feeling slightly embarrassed, both for myself and for her, wincing at the derision she received from the congregants. The nickname, which returns on occasion, is exhumed in jest, but I carry its beginnings with me: She did what she could that day.
And through age and experience, it's something I've seen a few times now: a student's mother asking for additional help, exasperated; the sturdy woman, whisking her kids through the crowded, mid-week, after-work grocery aisles as we simultaneously reach for the esteemed Aldi-brand Bordeaux; my wife, meeting with another set of doctors for another set of directives for our son with special needs; and, if I try hard enough, the umpire's mother, bellowing that challenge to my own through the impassioned crowd. Doing all they can.
Such courage is both conspicuous and cloaked. We see it and we don't. It sneaks up on us while keeping us afloat.
Mothers are fearless. They will risk life, limb and secular repute. What else could we ever need?
Jason Beer is a Fort Wayne teacher.