When the good Lord was creating mothers, he was into his sixth day of overtime, when an angel appeared and said, "You're doing a lot of fiddling around on this one."

And the Lord said, "Have you read the spec on this one? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; have 180 moveable parts, all replaceable; run on black coffee and leftovers; have a lap that disappears when she stands up, a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair, and six pair of hands.

"The angel shook her head slowly and said,"Six pairs of hands...no way."

"It's not the hands that are causing me problems," said the Lord."It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have."

"That's on the standard model?" asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. "One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, "What are you kids doing in there?" when she already knows. Another here, in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn't, but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, "I understand and I love you," without so much as uttering a word."

"Lord,"said the angel, touching his sleeve gently, "Rest for now. Tomorrow..."

"I can't," said the Lord. "I'm so close to creating something close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.

"The angel circled the model of the mother very slowly. "She's too soft," she sighed.

"But tough!" said the Lord excitedly. "You cannot imagine what the mother can do or endure."

"Can she think?"

"Not only think, but she can reason and compromise," said the Creator. Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.

"There's a leak," she pronounced. "I told you, you were trying to put too much into this model."

"It's not a leak," said the Lord. "It's a tear."

"What's it for?"

"It's for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness and pride."

"You're a genius," said the angel.

The Lord looked somber, "I didn't put it there."