In celebration of the impending Mother's Day holiday, Kara has asked a diverse group of parenting bloggers to write a post about Mothers and Mothering. She's assembled a virtual all-star cast of some of my favorite bloggers and I'm honored to be a part of it.
For my part in this group celebration of Mother's Day, I thought I'd take this opportunity to thank all of those mothers who, for better or worse, have turned us into who we are today.
After all, where would we be without those selfless nurturers who changed our diapers, cleaned up our vomit, kissed our boo-boos, and stayed up with us all night when we were sick? Who else in our lives would cut the crusts off our bologna sandwiches, hide little notes in our lunchboxes, and, every once in awhile when you had the blues, cheer you up by giving you a cupcake for dessert?
Like borrowing money from the mob, motherhood is almost always a debt that you can never repay. The woman who selflessly pushed you out of her uterus will always be your mother. She made you! No gift to her can ever equal her gift to you---Life (and make no mistake, it's a mother's right to remind you of that on a semi-annual basis.) But really, for many reasons, motherhood is so much more than just a giant credit card balance in the shopping cart of life.
As Dennis Miller once said...
"Unshakable bastions of well-meaning dysfunction, mothers somehow teach us about the world while protecting us from its dangers, encourage us to be independent while carefully rationing our freedom, and manage to instill in us the belief that we're the best while simultaneously making us feel like we're never good enough. Only a mother possesses the unique ability to envelop you in a soft, warm blanket of unconditional love at the exact same moment that she's driving you fucking crazy!"
I couldn't have put it better myself.
The truth of the matter is that, although the umbilical cord may have been detached years ago, all mothers have a hold on their children that never fully disappears. It's an unalienable law of the animal kingdom.
To this day, my mother always calls me on my birthday and tells me that she vividly remembers giving birth to me and that it seemed like it was just yesterday. Of course, I always ask her how she can recall something that happened almost four decades ago yet can't remember where she parked her car at the mall.
Me? I'm a 37-year-old man with a wife, a child and a mortage. But there are times that my mother can still make me feel like her little boy. Whether it's by telling me at dinner last week to put my napkin on my lap and then reminding me about the time I swallowed ten pennies and had to be taken to the ER when I was 5-years old, I sometimes feel like it's her full-time job to both annoy and embarass me at the same time.
And, speaking of jobs, I think mothering has to be one of the most thankless ones around. As children, we're always seeking to push the bounds of authority and claim our right to independence. However, our mothers know that we're not quite ready to leave the nest on our own and therefore the mother-child relationship becomes fraught with conflict. But, in retrospect, we all come to realize that our mothers WERE right. It's wasn't a good idea to go to school dressed as Spiderman in the middle of a snowstorm costume. It's wasn't a good idea to eat that giant Hershey's Kiss in one sitting. And it DEFINITELY wasn't a good idea to cut your own hair and spend your entire allowance on a pair of purple parachute pants. But really, how were we to know?
A good mother lets you figure out some things on your own. Other times, she chooses to teach her lessons through constant repetition. Even now, when I leave the refrigerator open, I hear my mother's voice yelling at me to close the door. I swear, sometimes I have to turn around to confirm that she's not really standing in the middle of our kitchen.
Now, maybe times are changing and this generation's children will end up learning many of life's important lessons from their fathers. However, I think there's something embedded in the human genome that will always ensure that mothers are the true teachers of life's important lessons. This probably goes back to the Stone Age when neanderthal moms nagged their children about wearing clean bearskins when leaving the cave in case they ever got into an accident.
I know a lot of you out there are mothers with relatively young kids. And I know in this modern MTV-age of Desperate Housewives and O.C. hipness, there's an emerging trend of wanting to be a "cool" mom. I beg of you to ignore it and let it go. Because if there's one thing I have to say about motherhood, it's that a mother's sole responsibility is to flaunt convention and, over the course of a lifetime, simply prepare your kids for everything they might encounter in the world around them. Nowhere in the job description should it say anything about wearing the same clothes as your teenage daughter while driving to mall in your Hummer for a round of Cosmos.
As many of you have probably figured out by now, motherhood isn't the easiest job in the world. The job responsibilities involve equal parts Stalin and Mother Teresa: strict disciplinarian on one hand, unconditional nurturer on the other. Only a mother can kiss and scold you at the same time. Only a mother can make you laugh and cry at the same time.
And only a mother can convince you that it's probably not a good idea to go to school dressed as Spiderman.
So, to all the mothers out there around the world...thanks for everything! There's no way that we can ever really thank all of you enough. Whether you're wiping snot off our faces with the sleeve of your blouse or swatting flies away from our face as we sleep, we thank you for all the love, wisdom, compassion and patience that you've given us. Who knows where we would be without you! Like the Jewish proverb says, "God could not be everywhere and therefore he made mothers."
And as the grand poo-bah of eternal wisdom, Mr. Vanilla Ice, once said, "Word to Your Mother!"
Peace out, yo!