Several years ago, when customized cell phone ring tones first became available, one of my sons was setting up his phone with different ring tones for each family member. He asked me what song I thought he should use for my ring tone and I flippantly replied, “The Bitch is Back.” My son, my grown son, paused, looked at me strangely and said, “I was thinking more along the lines of Loves Me Like a Rock.” Whoa! That took my breath away. What a lovely idea for a mom to hear.
This past weekend, as I drove the last leg home on our middle-of-the-night return from the Ducks’ football game and after dropping off three of our grown kids who’d accompanied me to the game, I turned up the radio to help keep me alert and what should come on but Paul Simon’s Loves Me Like a Rock. I sang along and really thought about the words. I’m sort of known for not really paying much attention to lyrics; I’m more of a “it’s got a good beat and it’s easy to dance to,” sort of girl, but Saturday night (Sunday morning, really) I truly listened and I thought about the day I’d just spent enjoying the company of four of our seven kids. They’re different, they’re alike – they’re independent, they’re something less than independent – they’re athletes, computer nerds, game geeks, academics, but they’re all fascinating, fun, wonderful people to be with. As I listened to Paul Simon, I was reminded of the surprising intensity of parental love I felt when our first child was born and that I felt again as each successive child joined our family. That love doesn’t wane with the number of children or the passing of years. As the number of kids left at home shrinks and we approach the time when we will be empty-nesters, I know that the parental love that has been such a part of our lives will not decline. What was once love for a small, helpless child has become love for a strong, creative individual, but it’s still that intense parental love. Yes, their mama loves them, she loves them, she stands on her tiptoes and hugs them, yes she loves them like a rock.