Mother’s Day is this weekend. I hope for a few hours to veg alone either at Stauf’s or on a massage table or on a run along the river. I hope for nothing more than a couple of home-made pictures from M&M telling me that I am the bomb and that I am super cool.
I remember reading Anne Lamott’s piece on Mother’s Day (Why I hate Mother\’s Day) a year or so ago. My girlfriend at the time was contemplating whether to have a child – she is a professional with a good job, husband, house, dogs and she is heavily involved in the community.
In thinking about her dilemma, I thought about what M&M have brought to my life. Can I imagine life without them now? No way. Could I have imagined life without kids before I had them. Probably. It would have allowed me to get more involved in the community, go to events I wanted to attend whenever I wanted to do so, get up in the morning and go for a long run, have more freedom to do just what I desired. Now I have to adjust my schedule for the kids and give up on events and gatherings that I would otherwise be inclined to attend because I want to be with M&M (and when I don’t to be with them particularly, I feel obliged to be!). I would never regret the decision to have my munchballs – they fill me with joy and amazement and good times – but I do believe that a person can decide to forego the baby route and still lead a fulfilling, complete life as Anne Lamott argues in her piece. My girlfriend ended up going the baby route and she has her ups and downs and her frustrations like all of us moms do. And I know that she does not regret her decision but I am sure there are those days that we all have where we daydream about all we were able to do in this world “pre-baby.”
I don’t mind the idea of a Mother’s Day celebration or any “Hallmark” celebration for that matter. We lead such hectic lives that if it takes a special day to make us slow down to recognize the people who mean the most to us, why not? Earlier today, I watched the newscasters on NBC became emotional when looking back at their moms’ presence in their lives. As much as I wanted to roll my eyes at this manufactured sentimentality, I found myself thinking about the women in my life and feeling appreciation and gratitude for their presence in my life. In the end, it is those moments we have throughout our days that keep us plugging along the bumpy road that life can bring us.
I hope that my mom realizes how much I love her in spite of our battles throughout high school and college. I now look back at those spats and my anger and frustration and don’t see the woman I saw through my 17 year-old eyes; rather, I see a woman who was full of passion and wonder and yearning to try to find herself and the life that she wanted to live –
very similar to the struggle I face in juggling motherhood, my job, being a wife and a member of my community. Now she has stepped into the grandma role helping me raise M&M and giving me a sounding board whenever I struggle with work issues or anxiety about whether I am damaging my children. She has reinforced in me that I am a strong, intelligent woman, and she has always supported me.
I hope that Patty realizes how much I love her for being a warm, dynamic mom to Jon and providing him with the skills and compassion to be such a loving father to M&M. Patty exudes energy and has a zest for life that challenges my energy (and we’re thirty years apart!). She has gone to the limits for M&M taking them for days at a time and playing with them for hours on end. She gives her whole self to her family, and never declines a chance to spend time with us. Her spirit is infectious.
I hope that my Grandma Menkedick realizes how much I love her because she is an amazing, incredible, persevering woman who has made a mark on me that serves me well every day of my life (my late Grandma Heile also serves the same role for me). G-ma teaches me to be humble and gracious and to stand up for myself. She is the first one to tell me that I need to tell my boss that I won’t work late hours; tell M&M that bedtime is at 9 pm and there will be no getting out of bed; and make my body take some rest time. She keeps me in line and she reminds me of the power of living in the moment and appreciating the small things be it vegetables ripe from the field or watching late-night tv on the couch with a glass of coke and Pringles.
I have been lucky to have so many strong, energetic, passionate players in my life, many of them women. As Anne Lamott states:
“The main thing that ever helped mothers was other people mothering them; a chain of mothering that keeps the whole shebang afloat. I am the woman I grew to be partly in spite of my mother, and partly because of the extraordinary love of her best friends, and my own best friends’ mothers, and from surrogates, many of whom were not women at all but gay men. I have loved them my entire life, even after their passing.”
So on this Mother’s Day, I give a shout out to all of those women and the many others who have marked my life – thanks for bringing me the experiences that have led me to who I am today. I love you all.