I was going to just take the day off of the blog today, thinking folks would understand, as I am a mom and all…but I just couldn’t. Truth is, I’ve been feeling a bit giddy with good thoughts lately, so much so I feel I could burst. Like my birthday, this is another one of those holidays that is morphed by cancer into a Yippee Yahoo Celebration that I am here another year for my kids and that I got to be a mom for another year. This day is so big and juicy. And yes I am thankful for my mom of course, but for so much more in this wonderful world, wider than my arms can stretch. I feel effervescent and ginger ale-y inside and out. Like I have this wand in hand and am blowing an endless stream of bubbles, each sparkly one floating about me, carrying within it a story of my gratitude.
First I am thankful for this most amazing day here with my kids, for the fact that this again after five years, is a happy day for them and not a sad day; for my two little monkeys who have indeed made my life a barrel of fun every single day. Two sweet-smelling beings I could eat with a spoon and who I’m certain, hung the moon.
I am grateful for my mom who gave me so much, but most of all the gift of child whispering. Because to fully get this gift, I had to be on the receiving end of it for 30 years. Because of it, I am a solid and happy person who brings my best to the world. With it, I have a career that I love and am such a better parent. I am thankful for every birthday party she had for me and how she made me feel special every single day of my life; for teaching me the language of cupcakes and Disney and the true meaning of the word nurture. For teaching me that the very best thing a person can do in this world is to say something that makes a little kid’s chest puff up with pride. I am so thankful that I had her for a mom, however short a time it was. For how she loved and nurtured me to the tips of my toes, and for whose warmth I still feel surround me, especially when it is dark and it seems everyone else is gone.
I am grateful for my pop, who has done a peach of a job being a mom in all the major good and bad events of my life, you know, those ones when a girl sure coulda used her mom.
And I don’t know what I’d have done without all the women who absent my mother, have encircled me like a pride of lionesses; who with gentle swats of those giant paws, guide me when I stray.
But wait! There’s more!
I am grateful that cancer has taught me that driving carpool, and doing laundry, shopping for groceries and making five trips to school in one day is privilege not a chore.
I am thankful for my 85 year old friend Frances. For the days I appeared on her doorstep with two little screaming kids and said, “Please take them before I do something to make social services come to my house and take them away,” and she, without hesitating, swooped them into her home. I am thankful for finding those kids an hour later sitting like the King and Queen of Siam in adult arm chairs with TV trays in front of them, a glass of milk and saltines on the tray, both calmed by the specialness good grandmothers give. I am thankful for Frances teaching me that sometimes, the time you spend away from them is as important as the time you spend with them. And for shoo-ing away, with indeed a breath of kindness, the notion that I am the Worst Mother in the World on those days.
I am grateful for the first five minutes in the car every day after school, when the day just bubbles out of both of them. For teachers who have mothered them during the day and said kind things about them both, and for tests hanging on the fridge.
I am grateful for the day my thoughtful son said he would skip something after school so I didn’t have to make two trips downtown within an hour, and that I was able to say, “Absolutely not, that is what moms do Colton; that’s my job,” and that I meant it with every ounce of my being.
It simply takes my breath away that I was lucky enough to see my kid do something I never would have thought he would do, be in a Shakespearean play. I am thankful that I lived long enough to have complicated discussions with him about moral dilemmas of the world, to take him on college tours, to see the world turn his way finally, and to feel inside the complicated emotions that follow as he rather confidently takes those first steps out of my grasp; I am lucky to have lived long enough to now have a glimpse of kinda guy he will become.
I’m eternally grateful for the warm fuzzy of being here as my daughter “crossed over,” to be able to shop for dresses with her, and talk with her about boys, and mean girls and how not to be “that girl”; to see her little shoulders shake and feel her tingle as she cried for hours after she got a hug from Taylor Swift. To see her garden bloom, and witness her sweetness grow wildly along the trellis of her solid sense of self.
For warm cookies on a snow day, for fits of laughter between us three in a hotel room one night, for hugs after arguments, for the smell of clean laundry on their beds, for being able to discipline them, for seeing them tip their heads to have a medal put around their neck, for holding hair back for a sick kid, for just doing nothing, together. For being able to be able teach them that you don’t get everything you want, but when you want what you have, you have it all.
I am tickled for every Halloween that I got to carve pumpkins and wrap a boy mummy in gauze, and stand at the curb while a rather brave tiny princess walked up to the door by herself to say trick or treat.
There’s so much more…..
I am grateful that I get to in some small way, teach other mother’s how to mother children, and that I get to rescue children from mother’s who are just incapable of doing so, at least at the moment.
I am grateful that there is so much information in the world, right at our fingertips, to help us all be better mothers. Our mother’s did what they knew how to do and while they had Dr. Spock, there was nothing to help the emotional life of a mom, not like there is now.
And yes, as much as I have been at war with it, I am thankful for my mom body, for my stretched out belly skin that will never go back to bikini land, but which served me well to get two healthy babies into the world. And for this body’s ability to ward off the evil that tried to steal my kids’ mom from them.
So for Mothers Day, with a gentle blow of the wand, I am launching three wishes into the world. Now be warned, I have been known to frequently wish for the impossible, but if you’re gonna wish, wish big.
I wish that all women whose past has inhibited their ability to be the mom they want to be, find a way to change that path. That all women grasp what a gift parenting is, and get that meetings and work and TV and girls nights out will always be there, but that making candy apples with a 7 year old won’t be. Every day is an opportunity to make their child’s chest puff up; I wish all women will see the, oh so quickly slipping through our fingers gift that this is.
I wish that we could all take a more focused, more compassionate look at other moms both near and far, and practice what action should follow empathy in understanding how it would feel to not have food for your child, to not have medicine when they are sick and are crying in pain, or to watch your child die from malnutrition. That we consider kindly the women I have met who have taken a hit to spare their child being a target. That we grasp how hard it is for some mothers to find their way out, and realize that if we all used our own mothering ability to take the hand of just one other woman and guide her into the light, we could change the world.
The last, most special and delicate wish is this; for all the women for whom cancer has made the road to becoming a mother difficult in one way or another, I wish that their children find them. Children, our children, find us in so many ways. I wish that each and every child finds their way into the sweetness and the shining goodness and warmth that is being loved by a mom who thinks they hung the moon. Sometimes, when you look over here and the answers aren’t coming, you must look over there.
There are bubbles everywhere… floating softly about us, waiting…just waiting for us to reach out and capture…and cup gently in our hands.
Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand
Hold it tight
I will protect you
From all around you
I will be here
Don’t you cry
For one so small,
You seem so strong
My arms will hold you
Keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can’t be broken
I will be here
Don’t you cry
‘Cause you’ll be in my heart
Yes, you’ll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You’ll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You’ll be here in my heart, always
I’ll be with you
I’ll be there for you always
Always and always
Just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there always…
Phil Collins ~You’ll Be in My Heart