Martorella: M-O-T-H-E-R

I recently stumbled upon a poem my daughter wrote for me back when she was in the acrostic stage. (An art form studied, I believe, in first grade.)
R – Respects Us
E – Entertains Us
B – Best Mom in the World
E – Enlightens Us
C – Cooks Great
C – Cleans Very Nicely
A – Amazing Girl!
There was a tune to go with it which, of course, I now can’t get out of my head, highlighting the “Best mom in the wooorrrld!” and finishing up with a raucous finale: “Amaaaaazing Girrrl!” Hey, I’ll take it. In a few years, I’ll have to remind her that she used to like me once.
Finding this poem so close to Mother’s Day reminded me of the old classic M-O-T-H-E-R song recorded by Eddy Arnold. I realize that this musical reference is ancient for most of you, but stick with me. The song was basically an acrostic sung to the singer’s mom:
M is for the million things she gave me
O means only that she's growing old
T is for the tears she shed to save me
H is for her heart of purest gold
E is for her eyes with love-light shining
R means right and right she'll always be
Put them all together they spell MOTH-ER.
A word that means the world to me.
My brother and I used to joke our way through this song. We could never remember the words so we would just sing the first line substituting another word for “million” that started with the next letter, like “O is for the Other things she gave me — T is for the Thousand things she gave me...” and so on. Clearly it was all about the stuff for us - sorry Mom.
I like to imagine my kids would sing an ode to me like Eddy did, but it would probably be more like:
M is for the Million times she calls us
O means only that she’s Overwhelmed
T is for the Tears she sheds when we fuss
H for Heaps of messes in her Home
E is for Electronics that she charges.
R is for the Rules that we ignore.
Put them all together they spell MOTH-ER.
The superwoman that this holiday is for. Oh sorry, that’s the song I would write. They’d probably be happy with the millions of things.
Not surprisingly, there are hundreds of songs written about mothers, in all styles. From Elvis to Ozzy Osbourne, Willie Nelson to Snoop Dogg and everyone in-between, musicians love their mammas.
In my home, the mother song you’ll hear most is the loud burst of “Mama…..whoa-oh-oh-oh” from Bohemian Rhapsody. But it’s me doing the singing, whenever the kids scream for me across the house too many times.
I’m a little envious of Meghan Trainor’s mom who is featured on her song aptly named “Mom.” After playing a loving phone call with her mom, Meghan sings, "You might have a mom, she might be the bomb , but ain't nobody got a mom like mine.”
Well Jimmy Dean sure did. Back in the 1970’s, he sang a song to his mom called “IOU”, which is basically a 500+ word list of all the loving motherly actions for which he is grateful. He mentions the usual multiple roles that moms play, like cook, cleaner, nurse, teacher, and advisor, but he also expands his list to include a night watchman waiting up for a late child, a bodyguard, and a construction worker. The descriptions are pure country poetry:
“(I.O.U) For dryin' the tears of childhood, and ironin' out the problems of growin' up....for cementin' together a family so it would stand the worst kind of shocks and blows....and for layin' down a good strong foundation to build a life on.”
He recognizes that his gratitude comes late but his mom isn’t waiting for the thank you, she is simply satisfied with the love of her child: “These are just a few of the things for which payment is long overdue, The person that I owe 'em to worked very, very cheap….She had marked the entire bill ‘Paid In Full’ for just one kiss and four little words...Mom, I love you.”
While Disney doesn’t have the best track record for the treatment of moms, Wendy does sum it up well in Peter Pan: “What makes mothers all that they are? Might as well ask, 'What makes a star?' Ask your heart to tell you her worth. Your heart will say, 'Heaven on earth.'"
Happy Mother’s Day to all you hardworking moms out there! You are valued and you are loved!
Rebecca Martorella, LMFT welcomes ideas and comments and can be reached at