gratitude-a-thon day 589: to you, mom, the mother of all people

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Hey Moms,

It’s your day. You know why? Because you took on a role that is so daunting, so often thankless, and so gosh darn important, you have convinced society to celebrate you for 24 hours. You should actually be celebrated for, like, a fucking year, but a day is what you get, so, like you so often have to do, shut up and make the best of it.

We celebrate you today, mom. Whether you are a stay-at-home, a work-from-home, or work from work version, a biological, adopted, or friend-in-need type, today is the day that everybody tips their hat to you and your multi-tasking ability, your selflessness, your really good mac and cheese. Today is the day that your children will be taken by the police and put behind bars unless they have purchased, or made you a card. Some of you may get breakfast in bed, others may get to go out to dinner accompanied by your brood, still others may be receiving flora, fauna, or bling. This is your day to shine, and I’m not talking about the silver mama, so enjoy your moment.

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Today we stop and give thanks for your amazing ability to annoy and agitate. We put our hands together for your intuition, your guts, your sixth sense. We bow down to your laundry skills, and bed making prowess. Today we put you, however briefly, on a pedestal, for the way you grocery shop, and drive us to multiple locations while listening to music you hate. We envy your keen ability to make a boo boo go away with a kiss, and your reluctant acceptance of your post pregnancy body. We canonize you for always having to take out the dog, for letting us borrow your clothes (and ruin them), for continually having to empty the dishwasher. We treasure the way you can juggle life’s obligations with a kid on one hip and a career on the other. We adore you for nagging us to do our homework and clean our rooms, use manners, and take a shower, the stuff that will help us in our lives.

We especially commend you today, mom, for putting up with us, as we mature. We know we’re not that easy, and can be downright impossible. We marvel at your good nature, your generosity, and the way you have not given into the desire to smack us across the face on multiple occasions.

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You are a rock star. You are the unspoken hero of our lives. You are the most special person we know.

And today, we tell you, even though the rest of the days, we just carry it around it in our hearts.

Happy Mother’s Day, Moms, all of you, every last one of you. Today is yours. And you deserve it (and let’s face it, so much more, too).

gratitude-a-thon day 43: Mama Bears

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Lately, I seem to be reading about mom’s who are facing stuff that is hard. Like, really hard. In the most recent (mammoth) issue of Vogue I just read an article by Emily Rapp, who writes beautifully about her experience with living, loving and losing her sweet little boy Ronan, who was born with Tay-Sachs Disease. As I read, I could feel the pit in my stomach growing to the size of a small midwestern farm, not because this story had anything to do with me, but because as a mom, I could feel what it would be like if it did.

Which brings me to another blog, that of Jane Roper. I met Jane for like 5 seconds many years ago, at a writer’s group that I was thinking of joining, but quickly realized was made up of writers that were quite a bit more experienced than I was. (Translation: Writers who were way fucking better than I ever could be at writing.) But the cool thing was that I got to meet Jane, who was an advertising copywriter, like me, and had just been accepted into the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was exceptionally friendly and nice. Since then, I’ve watched her success from afar, as she’s given birth to twins and written two books. And then, recently, I ran into her blog and read with rapt attention about how one of her adorable twins had received the diagnosis of leukemia. At five. It made me once again, hold onto my chair,  because, well, I of the vivid imagination, could imagine how difficult this would be to go through. (By the way, Jane is such a gifted writer, she even makes cancer funny.)

Lastly, I found a blog posted by a Facebook friend, which really made me think. The blog is by Julie Ross and is called George. Jessie. Love. And it’s about Julie’s child Jessie, who was George until his 10th birthday. And I thought Jake not making the basketball team was a parenting challenge. When I think of how brutal kids can be at that age, I can imagine that parenting a transgender child must require some superb mommying. Julie shares her experience with honesty and wit.

Why I’m fascinated by, and grateful for all these stories is because, in each case, I see and feel the Mama Bear that’s at the helm, and she  inspires me to dig deeper in an effort to be a better mom, myself. None of us know exactly what we’re signing up for when we give birth. And the  baby comes, and the love that you feel is so powerfully big, so all encompassing, so passionate and deep, that what you do know is, nothing will ever be the quite same again. And it hits you in an instant, that  you will do whatever it is you have to do to keep that child safe, happy, healthy, and able to be their best selves forever more. You know it, like you know the sun will make it’s way to the center of the sky the next day, and will go into hiding 12 hours later.

And that’s what I love about these women. The unexpected, searing pain that can come with being a mom and doing your job can sometimes feel unspeakably impossible. But never undoable. These are dynamic examples. I’m grateful that these women, courageous and honest, are able to share their experiences so eloquently, and show us that in good times and bad, being a mom forces us to learn and grow and find beauty and love in even the most difficult. And that at the end of the day, we wouldn’t have it any other way.