Monday, May 9, 2011

On Mothering

I actually meant to write a Mother's Day post on Friday but then this 80 year old professor got me on the phone and managed to sweet talk me into basically teaching him Internet 101 for about two hours. No, I'm not kidding. Thankfully, there will now be one less person using blinking Comic Sans on PowerPoint. You can thank me later.

This morning, I got the full Mother's Day experience when I logged on to Facebook. I generally try to make my weekends as internet-free as possible, given how much I am on during the week, both for work and play (a good deal of the courses that I help manage are online). My daughter even posted a Mother's Day wish for me on my wall, and I made her bring her iPod to me and show it to me because I was too lazy to actually log on. So this morning, I saw it all. Pictures of gifts, of smiling children, smug status messages about who got what and who loves who and all of that. There was even a round up from a SAHM that I know that said "Ok, Mother's Day is over. What did you get?" and about 15 comments listing everything from flowers to iPads.

My family does not make a big deal about Mother's Day, or Father's Day for that matter. Last year, Dallas Braden pitched a perfect game on that day, and I said that was my gift, along with a trip to see Iron Man 2 (loves me some Robert Downey Jr.). This year, I jokingly told Matt that all I wanted was a bucket of strawberries from our local farm and a six pack of Miller Lite. That's what I got. And yes, it was just as wonderful as you can imagine. I slept in a little and then made a strawberry rhubarb pie, prepared myself some salmon glazed with orange blossom honey from the Farmer's Market (the kids are not big fish fans, so I made them some chicken), roasted some of Spring's lovely asparagus, and sat around. I ordered some books off of Amazon. I watched some baseball and read a magazine. Sam made me a card that said "I love my mom more than I love pumpkin pie." I didn't do any laundry.

Being a mother is a thankless job. It is tiring and hard and sometimes you just need a break. Sometimes your kid starts working on a back tooth or something and decides that the only thing that will dull the pain is to nurse until your boob feels like it has been put in a vice (TMI?). Sometimes you have to take your kid to another beauty pageant where she will be the entertainment and you really think that if you had any state secrets, you'd talk under the circumstances. You worry about things like organic pasta rings and high fructose corn syrup and AP and what school system you should move your kids to. You stay up at night and you worry and you sleep fitfully and get up and do the whole thing all over again.

But then you see them grow and change and you see the smiles on their faces as they become people that you would like, were you to have met them in college, were you not their mom. You see their triumphs. You see them smile with their eyes and you understand what Tyra was talking about. You fall in love, a bit more everyday.

Mothering is its own gift, its own reward. And it lives not just for those who have given birth to a child, because I think we all know that birthing something does not make you a mother. Mothering lives in all of us, whether we are a parent ourselves or not. It lives in anyone who has cared for someone else, who has kissed a dirty knee, who has responded perfectly indignantly at a pre-teen's text, right on cue. It lives not just on a Sunday in May, but on every day. And it is rewarded, not just with flowers and earrings and cards, but with a world where people are not judged or bullied, made to feel inferior, pushed or ignored, bruised or bloodied.

So a happy belated Mother's Day to you all. I hope that the day treated you well, whether you are a Mom or not.

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