Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Too Much Mother?

By Greg

One year ago today, my dear mother, Alice Marie Widdison Haws Beecher (wow that is a long name) passed away.  As I listed my pre-mission concerns, she was near the top of that list.  She would not have been comfortable with me leaving her.  When she died, I was teaching at BYU and had an apartment in Provo.  She did not like me going to Provo.  She wanted me to be there when she died.  In the end, I was not there, but before I left her for the last time, I kissed her and told her that I was glad she was my mother and that I loved her and that I was sorry that I had to go.  She had every opportunity to die on that Sunday, but she hung on until Tuesday, which was the second day of the Fall semester.

In 2008 I wrote the following.  I think it sums up how I feel about my mother.

It is interesting that when she met our dad, she had a mission call.  Before Dad asked her to marry him, they went and visited with Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, who was an apostle and also a brother to our dad's mission president.  He told them to get married and have sons and send them on missions.  They did.  I am the first to go a second time.  I hope Mom and Dad know about this and that they are proud of what we are doing.  I hope they are proud of all of us.

Greg and Marie
"Too Much Mother"
By Greg W. Haws
April 6, 2008

Greg, Marie Ken, Barrett
Last night Judi told us of a television program that she had seen where a young mother explained her reasons for placing her three-month old baby in day care.  The woman had said simply, “I think my baby was getting too much mommy.”  We were all shocked.  We all wondered if a baby, especially one of this age, really needs a break from its mother, and perhaps she was admitting that she needs a break from the baby, but it made me think, can a child have too much mother?

When my children were babies we would often have them in bed with us as they were awake and needed attention or feeding.  At these precious moments, we would look into their eyes and love them.  We were filled with wonder.  Their mother spent countless hours doing this very thing, just looking into their eyes and being filled with wonder.  I remember asking Debi if she thought my parents, and particularly my mother did that with me.  Her reaction was quick and pointed, “Of course she did.  What are you thinking?”

Well, I don’t remember being a three-month old and just beginning to look around at the world that I had been thrust into.  Yet, I am sure Debi is right.  It was my mother’s eyes that first caught mine.  I am certain that it was her smile that made me smile.  It was her arms that held me and her hands that served me.

On vacation, Alan, Marie, Wayne, Ken and Greg

"Missionary" Greg and Marie
  As I watch my daughters handle their little ones, I am grateful for their willingness to spend a major portion of their lives in simple things like looking into the eyes of their babies and smiling at them.  This is the most important work a person can do, yet it is so simple.  Mothers for generations untold all across the world have done this, and their babies have smiled back, some even displayed dimples in their checks as they learned to control their gaze and adjust the focus of their eyes, regardless of whether those eyes were blue, brown, gray, green or black.

I am now a man of significant age.  I am no longer a young man, or even a middle aged man.  I don’t know if I am a young old man yet, but I have lived these 56 years (now 60) with a few constants in my life.  One of them has been that for nearly all of these years I have had the privilege of looking into my mother’s eyes.  I am sorry that I have not always used the dimples that God gave me and smiled back.

Greg, Ken, Marie, Alan, Wayne
Sometimes my mother has been close to me, sometimes she has been in the audience as I have been on the stand, sometimes she has been in her home and I have been in mine, but still, I could look into her eyes.  I wonder what she has been thinking all of this time as she looked into mine.

My mother used a very effective technique when I was a boy.  If she had concern about the truthfulness of my story, she would say, “Greg, you look me in the eyes and tell me that that is the truth.”  That always worked.  Sometimes the story was modified, but in the end it was the truth.

What if every man in the world had his mother next to him in his most important actions?  What if she was saying to the politician, the business executive, the investor and the promoter, the celebrity or the professional athlete, “Look me in the eye and tell me the truth?”  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

Really, can we really have too much mother?  As we look at the challenges of our society, isn’t it obvious that we need more mother?  Wouldn’t we smile more if we spent more quiet time in the arms of our mothers gazing into their smiling faces?  Wouldn’t wars and conflicts end if mothers could control their sons with their eyes?  Wouldn’t men treat their wives and children with greater respect if they knew they had to look into the eyes of their mothers and tell the truth?

I am so grateful for my mother.  I know what color her eyes are, and I would recognize them anywhere.  While I recognize that someday they will close for a season, still, the eyes of my mother will live on in my life.  I could never have too much mother.

(Her eyes closed on August 29, 2011).

God bless our dear Mother!


  1. so sweet Greg, thanks for posting!!

  2. Beautiful post. And I think you are right--we can never have too much mother. :)