Friday, May 6, 2022

(High) Five for Mothers

Mother's Day snuck up on me this year, I think because it's earlier than usual but also because I've been busy...mothering. 

Rather than post a traditional High Five for Friday post, or a High Five for Mothers post, today I'm going to post five (seemingly random, but all of which have been on my mind recently) thoughts, stories, poems, and photos about mothers. 



My little sister was born when I was two-and-a-half years old. As often happens when a new baby joins the family, everyone - my parents, and my grandma, who was visiting - was paying a great deal of attention to the new I used a little of this "less supervised" time to plunge our brand new baby hairbrush deep into a tub of vaseline. I must have been reprimanded for this behavior (though neither my mom nor I remember this part), because shortly afterwards, my grandma found me sitting by myself and looking somewhat forlorn. She asked me what was wrong, and I responded, "mom's not proud."

Fast forward 40ish years...

Recently a friend kindly declared me "a helper." Apparently she'd seen me helping in various settings - at a nursing home, at a baby shower - and recognized that helping was my default mode. The first thought that went through my head (after thanking her for the compliment, of course) was that my mom would be proud.

My mom may not have been all that proud of me the day I ruined Sara's hairbrush, but I know she's proud of me now.


Recently Tom went to London for a conference, and while I could have gone with him, I chose to stay home. After realizing this, one of our family members offered to - in the future - come to Texas to take care of the kids so I could travel with Tom. I thanked her for her generous offer, but went on to explain that me not going to London with Tom wasn't really about childcare. A second plane ticket to London isn't cheap, I need a new passport, we had foster kittens...but mostly, I didn't want to leave my kids.

We only have three years left with Will. We only have five years left with Hallie. Time is no longer passing at the glacial pace it was when Will and Hallie were babies and toddlers. Time is FLYING by now, and I don't want to miss a single soccer game, dance performance, orchestra concert, talent show, or awards assembly. On an even simpler, more mundane level, I don't even want to miss a single opportunity to practice driving or watch Psych with Will, or to play Gin Rummy or go for a night walk with Hallie. I just don't want to miss a thing.

Our marriage is incredibly important to both Tom and me, and yes, a trip to London would probably offer an opportunity to connect. But we're finding other ways to spend time together so that I/we can - at least right now, and for the remaining years Will and Hallie will still be under our roof - be as present as possible for the last third of this parenting marathon. I'm not saying we won't travel at all in the next half decade, but maybe we'll stay a little closer to home and/or leave home for shorter periods of time...and then we'll celebrate crossing the finish line with a trip to London. (Or somewhere that has better food.) 




A few of my favorite past Mother's Day posts.


Finally, The Raincoat by Ada Limon

When the doctor suggested surgery
and a brace for all my youngest years,
my parents scrambled to take me
to massage therapy, deep tissue work,
osteopathy, and soon my crooked spine
unspooled a bit, I could breathe again,
and move more in a body unclouded
by pain. My mom would tell me to sing
songs to her the whole forty-five-minute
drive to Middle Two Rock Road and forty-
five minutes back from physical therapy.
She'd say that even my voice sounded unfettered
by my spine afterward. So I sang and sang,
because I thought she liked it. I never
asked her what she gave up to drive me,
or how her day was before this chore. Today,
at her age, I was driving myself home from yet
another spine appointment, singing along
to some maudlin but solid song on the radio,
and I saw a mom take her raincoat off
and give it to her young daughter when
a storm took over the afternoon. My god,
I thought, my whole life I've been under her
raincoat thinking it was somehow a marvel
that I never got wet.


Happy Mother's Day to all those celebrating (and hugs to those for whom today hurts), especially my mom, grandma, mother-in-law, sister Sara, sis-in-laws Chandi and Jenna, and village of mama bear friends. I love you all, and cherish our unique and special connections.

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