It’s May 2012 and yet another Mother’s Day approaches, a time when the world celebrates that one person who knows us best. She who has sacrificed everything to create new life. She who nurtures us, protects us, and gives us hope with a single breath.
MOM. I think of her every day. Not because I love her and wish her well, which, obviously, I do, but because I desperately need all of her accumulated motherly wisdom for the job at hand: raising our two daughters. Yes, I am the primary caregiver in our household. The stay-at-home dad, the maker of the home. Call me what you will (except Mr. Mom, of course – cringe cringe), the fact is that it is mostly me at home with the little ones every day, washing the dishes, folding the laundry, picking up toys, settling disputes, sweeping the halls, cooking meals, consoling them when sad little tears run down their cheeks, arranging play dates, shuttling them to school and dance class and the park and the grocery store. All of the responsibilities that I would normally associate with my own mother have somehow, inexplicably and undeniably, become my own. Is that the universe laughing heartily?
As a youngster, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think if you had asked me I would have figured that I was destined for the office, shirt, tie and briefcase in hand. I can certainly say with confidence that the thought of becoming my own MOM never even remotely surfaced in my adolescent brain.
And so now, at the age of 45 and with 6 years of parenting under my belt, I look more and more at my mother in sheer AWE. As I scramble to organize our family photos and video, I marvel at her wonderfully handcrafted scrapbooks. As I sweat in the kitchen trying to come up with creative kid-friendly dishes, I think fondly of my mom’s assortment of yummy lasagne, quiche, and hot dish. And as I obsessively attempt to keep our house clean, where rooms can suddenly explode into great messy fireballs, I feel the need to honor my mother’s wonderful organizing skills. She made it all look so easy.
I keep trying to figure out when that moment occurred – when a simple, mid-western girl transformed into the most amazing person to ever walk this planet.
And what of all of the other moms in my life? All of them, family and friends, have each taught me such valuable parenting lessons. I have gained compassion by watching my sister, mother of three, struggle daily with her addictions. I understand dedication more clearly now thanks to my mother-in-law. I have seen such courage in the eyes of our family counselor. And my wife has given me such love and shown me what it means to be pure of heart. Sharing childbirth with her and watching as she has nurtured our two daughters with every fiber of her being has been the most incredible experience of my life.
As I fumble with ponytails and diapers, I often think of my mom and feel eternally grateful. It is because of her that I cherish parenting.
And so, Happy Mother’s Day everyone! One can only imagine what a better world this would be if MOM were in charge.