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“We Know” A Mother\’s Day Essay

May 11, AD2014 9 Comments


I cannot presume to understand the relationship between a woman and her mother. To her, the word “Mother” represents both her origin and her destiny. And she need not, by any means, be a biological mother. Some of the finest “mothers” who have ever lived had no earthly husband, no children of the womb. Haven’t we all known at least one of these beautiful women, these precious souls who have given of themselves so fully, who have become mothers to all who know them. Could any of us ever call that little saint from Calcutta, Sister Teresa? I think not.

Motherhood, in the end, is not a biological function as much as it is, like all true love, an act of the will.

Nonetheless I can only salute it from a man’s perspective and so, I will try. First and foremost, regarding this, the highest achievement to which a human can aspire, I offer a secret that every man feels in his heart, long before he grasps it in his mind. Ready for the secret . . . We know!

Yes, we know. At some point in our lives we come to understand what Motherhood is, but it may take a long, long time. You ladies know all about it from the first twinge of morning sickness. I have seen the look on the faces of my own three daughters as they came to the early realization that their lives will never again be entirely their own. I have seen my wife go from being girl to woman with nine months of “growth” and I have watch her complete the journey with the doctor’s first, “Time to push!”

Ten times, I have been graced to be present when new life was born. Ten times, I have been the only person in the room completely free (save the vice grip of my wife) to observe, to pray, to learn. Yet for all that, I must confess that I never fully appreciated motherhood, even as I was co-creating it. You just can’t put an old head on young body. It is only now, as I watch my daughters struggle with the daily work of being moms, that I realize what their mother went through.

This, however, is my Mother’s Day wish for you moms, especially of young children.

You were not as clever when we met you as when you cajole a child into eating her peas. You were not as funny when we dated you as you are ranting about the gum in his hair. You weren’t as athletic in college as when you are juggling groceries, purse, baby and toddler. You weren’t as studious writing your Master Thesis as you are explaining 4th grade math. And you were not as beautiful to us on your wedding day as when, with tousled hair and stained blouse, you sing a child to sleep.

Happy Mother’s Day to my wife, my mother, my daughters and to mothers everywhere. Remember, we don’t always show it, we may not even realize it, but deep in our hearts . . . We know!

Photography: See our Photographers page.

Filed in: Marriage & Family

About the Author:

Val Bianco is a father of ten and a grandfather of seven, soon to be ten. He and his lovely wife of 34 years, Beth, reside in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, close to where they were born and raised. A home builder and carpenter by trade, Bianco was educated at the University of Pittsburgh. He has always had an abiding interest in history, politics and religion. As the housing market slowed in recent years, Bianco found time to realize a longtime dream of writing. His first novel, Sons of Cain has been recently released. Val Bianco endeavors to write material that is family friendly. He integrates faith and action in order to invite readers to explore contemporary issues from a spiritual perspective.

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  • David Peters

    Excellent article Val. I have come to appreciate my wife more over time too. I love the way you describe how beautiful your wife has become over time. I’m convinced I need to pray for my wife more. Thank God for our wives!

  • Susan Anne

    Thank you, Val, for this beautiful article. It is steeped in appreciation for what mothers do for the sake of their children.

  • KarenJo12

    No, you don’t know. Not in any manner that means anything. You suspect, you infer, and you conclude, but you clearly didn’t take part in much of the grossness and exhaustion of childbearing and childrearing. Saying you know is insultingly presumptuous and patronizing. Your wife raised ten kids with very little real assistance from you, and was pregnant for much of that time. You have no remote idea of what she must have suffered when she had three or four or five kids under eight and was pregnant with the next one. Please, don’t ever presume to speak for women or day you understand what mothers suffer. You don’t and you can’t.

    • Shannon Marie Federoff

      Um, please don’t presume YOU speak for women either. I have had 11 children with my husband (a truly happy and blessed marriage of 23 years) and he says the SWEETEST things and does the MOST THOUGHTFUL acts for me on a daily basis… starting with telling everyone that “MY wife has the MUCH harder job!” (though he is well known and respected in his field and consulted for his expertise).

      Can a man know exactly what motherhood feels like? No, of course not, but Mr. Bianco’s love and appreciation for his wife shines thru this essay. We women married to great guys like him have no reason to bitterly say “well, YOU never take part in the grossness and exhaustion of childbearing! Hurumph!” It is my HUSBAND who stays up at night with sick children… he’s the one who gets up in the night to investigate strange noises… he’s the one who juggles the finances nervously at his desk every week so that he can say “My wife stays home, so I KNOW my kids are loved all day!”

    • Phil Steinacker

      You are clearly a slave to your anger and, I suspect, to feminist nonsense passing as virtue.

      You don’t know this man at all, and yet you presume to judge him from a blog post.

      But the single most prominent thing revealed by your diatribe is that you wallow in your victimhood and self-righteous indignation is your weapon of choice.

    • td10

      Why the anger??I have 11 children and I am inspired by the beautiful evolution in this father/ grandfather. I watched my own husband( baby of seven) morph from a boy who had never held a newborn to a remarkable and devoted father whose partnership I could not survive without. Sure he’s had his bumbling moments- so have I- but isn’t part of our vocation as spouses and parents to support each other through the seasons of life and parenthood, opening our hearts to the change our Father in Heaven is orchestrating? It took years before I fully appreciated my husband’s burden of dragging his tired body from bed at 6 am and facing a monotonous work-day,with the staggering weight of a huge family’s well-being on his shoulders. And you’re disregarding that motherhood, with all its travails, is a privilege and a joy that men can never experience.
      Somewhere along the way, society pitted man against woman, husband against wife. Shouldn’t we acknowledge that we both travel a difficult but beautiful path and work to make the steps along the road lighter for each other?
      I’d like to commend this author for his willingness to evolve and for his ever-growing appreciation for his best friend. We need examples like this marriage if we are to fulfill the ultimate goal God intended for the sacrament of marriage- mutual sanctification.

  • KarenJo12

    So, you were a clueless dolt who ignored his wife and left her to take care of TEN kids, nine of ’em when she was pregnant, and you know so much about motherhood now? Your wife is astonishgly unfortunate, and your daughters too.

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  • It’s an act of will.

    Insightful and true.