The story that I like to call “The Mothering of Moses” has always been a favorite of mine. More than anything it speaks to me of the ways three women came together for the benefit of Moses, each doing her part, the work of God, to be sure that he not only lived, but thrived.
I feel the pain of his mother, who knew what she had to do so that Moses could live, even if it meant he would not be with her. I think of all the times that mothers have said goodbye to their children: the mother who leaves her child at daycare, the mother who waves goodbye at the first day of kindergarten, the mother who watches her child go to college, move to the other side of the country, leave for a foreign country – or worse yet – die an untimely, violent death, like Mary, the mother of Jesus, like the mother of Ahmaud Arbery.
I think of Moses’ sister, Miriam, who courageously watches out for him – who steps in when his mother must let go. And I am reminded of family members, nurses, teachers and others who step up when a mother is not able to be there for her child. I think of my Auntie who picked up my mother after school, because my grandmother was still at work in the factory.
And I think of Pharoah’s daughter, who looked beyond distinctions of tribe, race, and religion, who heard the cries of the child and saw a “baby” not an “other.” I am reminded of all the wonderful mission workers, like Sarah Hackett, and religious sisters, like Mother Teresa, who care for the most vulnerable around the globe, who see with their hearts.
And I think of how three women came together for this one child and I can’t help but think of my beloveds, Sr. Susan and Sr. Meg, who from the time my son was born became the village, the family, that helped me be able to be the best mother I could be as a single woman; They were there for my son’s first steps, first birthday, every graduation and milestone; two generous, loving women without whom neither my son nor I would have had the abundant life we’ve had since he was born.
Moses became the leader God called him to be in part because of three women who made a difference in his life: who saved him, nurtured him, and gave him the wisdom and love he needed to grow. This story is a reminder that when mothers have support, they and their children can thrive.