Friday, May 9, 2008

All Wonderful Mothers

This is for all the mothers who froze their buns off on
metal bleachers at football games Friday night instead of
watching from cars, so that when their kids asked, "Did you
see me?" they could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed
it for the world," and mean it.

This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with
sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Oscar
Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid saying, "It's OK honey,
Mommy's here."

This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled in the night
and can't find their children.

This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they'll
never see. And the mothers who took those babies and made
them homes. For all the mothers of the victims of the
Colorado shooting, and the mothers of the murderers. For the
mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front
of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came
home from school, safely. For all the mothers who run
carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes.
And all the mothers who DON'T.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience?
Compassion? Broad hips?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button
on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it heart? Is it the
ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear
down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?
The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at
2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? The
need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when
you hear news of a school shooting, a fire, a car accident,
a baby dying?

So this is for all the mothers who sat down with their
children and explained all about making babies.
And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn't.

This is for reading "Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a
year. And then reading it again. "Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers who mess up. Who yell at their
kids in the grocery store and swat them in despair and stomp
their feet like a tired 2-year old who wants ice cream
before dinner.

This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to
tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all
the mothers who opted for Velcro instead. For all the
mothers who bite their lips-sometimes until they bleed-when
their 14 year olds dye their hair green. Who lock
themselves in the bathroom when babies keep crying and won't

This is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up
in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers
in their purse.

This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to cook and
their daughters to sink a jump shot.

This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when
a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they
know their own offspring are at home.

This is for mothers who put pinwheels and teddy bears on
their children's graves.

This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who
can't find the words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers who sent their sons to school
with stomachaches, assuring them they'd be just FINE once
they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse and
hour later asking them to please pick them up. Right away.

This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes
and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers learning to let
go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single
mothers and married mothers. Mothers with money, mothers without.

This is for you all.

So hang in there.

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