Happy Mother's Day 2016

Embrace your inner "Mom"

Being Mom

Caralee 3 hours old

Today is the only day of the year when I make no apologies for being my true mom self.  

I am a grizzly bear, at least according to the deck of spirit animal cards I keep finding in the back of a drawer.  

I don't think of myself as a grizzly bear.  I'm more like an obsessive naked mole rat, constantly digging and building cozy multi-use niches until my fur falls off.  But, as a mom, I protected my kids from predators, which is kind of a grizzly bear way of looking at things.

I was the mom who found out which little second grade monster stole my son's beloved Koosh ball and threw it into the bushes.  The next time I saw this kid, I asked him (nicely) to go find it...which he did.  Then, he apologized for bullying my son and never bothered him again.

Not cool, I guess.  

The core of my motherly self told me to protect my little boy.  He learned to fight his own battles, despite my interference.  But, he was always the kid who started out trusting everybody.    

I was the mom who called an 18-year old high school idiot and gave him a choice.  He could stop stalking my daughter, or I would speak to his parents, and we would all work together to find a solution.  I can still hear the panic in his voice when he realized that his adolescent bullshit had gone too far.  I don't remember this kid's name, but I remember that his voice went up two octaves by the time we got off the phone.

Again, not cool.  But, what can you do when your kind-hearted girl is being ambushed on a daily basis?  Work with the school?  Not if you want to actually solve the problem and spare everyone the humiliation of literally being called into the principal's office. My motherly voice told me to go to the source and calmly deal with it.

Later on, during college hunt mania, I and all of my Boomer parent cohorts were branded, "helicopter" parents.  I said it then, and I still say it—fine, we hovered (some more than others).  So, sue us.  I'm willing to bet that our darling children did not hesitate to tell us when, where and how to shove it.  This generation never held back when it came to rejecting parental advice. 

Spare me the perfectly loved children who grew up to become perfect reflections of their parents' hopes and dreams.  I'll admit that there is something to be said for being proud of your kids, but they become who they are not because of their parents, but in spite of them.  

Good or bad, functional or not-so-functional, married, divorced, employed or unemployed, homeless or rich, church-going or not, secretive, addicted, parenting alone or with someone, college-educated or self-taught...They are who they are regardless of what we did to or for them.

That is the way it has been since cave man days when mothers got to carry clubs and fight off saber-toothed tigers.

To be clear, I'm not making veiled references to my own kids.  They are adults, and I am proud of both of them, no matter what.  They are captaining their own ships.  I am referring to women and what we do to ourselves as mothers.  

We go into it with fantasy notions of motherhood, and those fantasy notions are reinforced in practically every aspect of our lives.  It turns out that motherhood is as imperfect as the human beings who create it.  Yet, we hold ourselves and others to standards that are based on Hallmark cards.

Mother's Day should be about real women and all of the difficult work that women, in general, do for others.  The same goes for Father's Day and dads.

Women who simply give birth don't get credit for doing something magnanimous for humanity.  There is nothing simple about giving birth, by the way.  It's fun if you don't mind having your bladder fall out of your vagina thirty years later.  And, let's face it, having the baby is the easy part.   

Mother's Day is for the women who step up and do their absolute best to make the world a safer and more loving place.  In that way, we can all be mothers.

• happy • mother's • day •

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