This Mother’s Day Thing is a Mixed Bag

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We love our mothers. Of course we love our mothers. But they drive us crazy. They raised us wonderfully/strangely/amazingly/poorly or they didn’t raise us at all. They fill us with love or hate or guilt or horror or remorse. We take care of them or they take care of us. Perhaps we have never met them. Perhaps we like it that way. Perhaps we spend our entire lives searching for them. What if we lost them to death and the thought is still too much to bear? Mothers fill us with emotion. But they make us So. Very. Tired.

No matter how you feel about your mother, somebody will tell you you’re wrong. She’s sweet but overbearing. She was abusive but at least you had a mother. She was missing or dead but at least she wasn’t abusive. Be grateful for what you have. Think of all of the other people out there who love/hate/avoid their mothers. They really had it bad. You’re lucky and ungrateful.

Happy Mother’s Day.

We love our kids. Of course we love our kids. But they drive us crazy. They disobey and spill things on the carpet. They get into our things and date people that scare us. All three of them try to sit on our laps at the same time. They’re always in the hospital. They’re always in rehab. They scrape their knees and pierce their faces and take razors to their skin and hurt our hearts. They make us so incredibly happy and so desperately sad. They want their arms around us 24/7 when we need a break or won’t hug us when we’re dying for their affection. Perhaps we’ve lost one or two or several, and Mother’s Day reminds us keenly. Children are made of kisses and starlight and demons and magic and they make us So. Very. Tired.

No matter how you feel about your children, somebody will tell you you’re wrong. If you’re weary from not sleeping through the night for 16 months or for crying about their newest and greatest hurt, somebody will tell you to think of those who can’t have children. Who would be grateful for the nights spent worrying, calling their friends and hospitals looking for them, for helping them through their nightmares, for finding out that you couldn’t protect them from the monsters in their lives. Think of all of the women who would be better mothers to your children. You’re lucky and ungrateful.

Happy Mother’s Day.

There are women who are mothers, but not physically. They’re teachers, aunts, babysitters, Nana’s, friends, family by blood or by mutual decision. Perhaps they ache because they have no children of their own. Perhaps it’s by choice. Perhaps they’re told they’re less-than because they have working wombs but “selfishly” won’t use them to create babies.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Single fathers, who do all of the work, go to all of the plays, and fall asleep in front of the TV at night.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Individuals who want nothing to do with children at all, but have pearls and cards and chocolate advertisements shoved in their faces.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I know people who love the holiday. I know people who hate the holiday. It can stir up the happiest and darkest of emotions. I have friends who won’t come to church on Mother’s Day because the speakers wax on about their virtuous mothers, and it makes my friends feel inadequate. It feels like a day where we’re judged. Put on a pedestal or judged too harshly or perhaps we have distorted views of ourselves. We see ourselves when we’re frazzled and stressed and sick and we’re feeding everybody cold cereal for dinner. It’s easy to forget the love and cuddles when all we can see is that we can’t afford the money or time for a child’s gymnastic’s class or football practice.

Let’s forget the judgement. Let’s be kind. Celebrate this Mother’s Day, and give each other (and yourself) a pat on the back. Enough with the Mommy Wars, the Gender Wars, and every other single kind of war that saps us of our energy.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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My Six-Year-Old Demonstrates what to do in the Case of an Active Shooter.

No parents should ever have to listen to this. No child should ever have to learn it. But this is the world we live in, and no matter how uncomfortable it is, we need to do what we can to keep them safe.

This is Littlest, my baby, explaining what to do if an active shooter comes to her school. I took this video, praised her for being such a great learner, excused myself, and cried.

 

This Is What Love Looks Like

I’m under some pretty intense deadlines and other stresses. How do you eat an elephant? You unhinge your jaw and try to devour all of it at once. Naturally.

I came home from an unscheduled grocery store run (Arg, it ate up half an hour I didn’t intend to lose!) to this beautiful spread by Middlest.

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“You need to eat, Mom. You forgot all morning.”

This is what love looks like.

Hello, Childhood. I’m So Pleased To See You.

My father gave me The Book of Goodnight Stories on April 13, 1988.  I know this because he wrote it on the inside of the cover.  I had just turned nine.

There are 365 stories in this book, one for each day of the year.  I never had much discipline, however, and plowed through a week’s worth of stories at a time.  The author is Vratislav Stovicek and the stories were all translated into English.  Beautiful illustrations, tales that charm, tales that horrified.  When I was misbehaving, my parents punished me by hiding this book on the top shelf of the coat closet.  I couldn’t reach it even when standing on a chair.

The stories within helped to shape me.  I remember curling up and reading The Glass Fairy and The Boy Without Eyes.  The binding is coming apart, but I still read it to my own children, hoping that it will inspire their imagination the way that it inspired mine.  Sometimes I think it’s worthwhile to stop and revisit the things that we enjoyed when we were young.  It’s surprising how many things stay with us.