Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Like many I never considered what hard work it was to be a Mother until I had children of my own. I never thought to thank my mother for the gifts of love, life, patience, understanding, laughter, and her never-ending desire to help, no matter what was needed. She is gone now... but I think she might be "around" in some sense... so...
Mom, I love you and THANK YOU for the life you gave me, the values you taught me, the rights and wrongs you instilled in me, and thank you for loving me unconditionally... just as I love you.

To all of the mothers out there, and to all of the children of those mothers, I offer this;

What is a Mother

A mother is a girl who has grown up, and who still desires to play with baby dolls. Her baby dolls do indeed wet, and cry, and demand to be fed - at will.

A mother will sacrifice for her child. For nine months her body is not her own. Instead it is a vessel within which she carries a priceless treasure: her baby. She is awakened, usually, in the morning with "morning sickness." As the baby grows, she is sure to be awakened at all hours of the night with the urge to visit the restroom, where she does not rest, but instead wearily awaits the next call of nature. The smell of certain foods is sure to bring out the worst bout of nausea. The sight of certain foods, even those that may have once been her favorite, cause her nausea.
Her feet swell. Her skin breaks out. Her body turns traitor to her, causing miserable aches and pains in places she might never have known she had.
As the pregnancy continues, well into the fifth month or so, and even sooner, her clothes don't fit. Now instead of wearing those nice slacks and a nice shirt, she's traded in for maternity smocks, and elastic waisted slacks with this huge spandex panel sewn in the front that will stretch over what is becoming a rather large, and increasingly uncomfortable belly.
No more heels, either. The increased size of her stomach throws the entire rest of her body totally off kilter... Yep, for the next few months it has to be flats, with arch supports, of course, to off-set the heavier frame.
The cravings don't help with keeping that weight under control, and hence even more weight added to the once slim, trim, and svelte frame. Oh yes. Ice cream, with or without dill pickles, chocolate covered donuts, entire loaves of bread with strawberry jam, cake, potato chips, french fries with a side of ketchup, or chocolate sauce, depending on what that little being inside happens to 'want'. Maybe it's fruit, but entire baskets - not the reasonable or sensible one or two pieces, and juice, milk, water - by the 50 gallon drum.

By the ninth month she can't sit without assistance, nor can she rise without the same. There is no more snuggling into the pillow face down - there is now a basketball sized lump between you and the mattress. And besides, it's easier to sleep on the side because then you can just roll out of bed for the fifty times during the night that you're going to have to go pee since the baby is resting comfortably on your bladder with it's feet propped rather firmly against your diaphram, and both hands are playing the xylophone with your ribs.
Occasionally there is the very insistent kick, just to remind you in case your forget, that baby is indeed there...

Then, when there is just too many things to do and you wonder how you will get it all done, it's time to add one more thing to the list - labor and delivery. Pain. Discomfort. Pain. Deciding at that moment that you've changed your mind and don't want to go through with it, unfortunately, is not an option. Baby is coming and Bill Cosby said it best - it is like trying to stretch your lower lip over the top of your own head.

Then, finally, the baby is born. There is crying, and tears of joy, and tears of relief... and it is as if something magic happened the instant that the baby is outside of it's warm little coccoon... None of the pain, misery, discomfort, and sickness is remembered. It's as if it happened, but so long ago that it is a hazy memory at best. All that matters is the now and the cry of that living, breathing, precious baby doll, that you carried inside of you for nine months.

For the next 18 years, or so, you will spend wondering what the heck happened to that sweet little baby boy, or baby girl... Past the stage of cuddly infancy, they quickly learn to walk and talk, and run and sass, and throw temper tantrums and baseballs and rocks through windows... They learn to pull the dogs tail, and carry the cat around by a hind leg. They learn that pudding tastes better than vegetables and refuse to offer any consent to having their hair combed or their faces washed. There is no perfectly good reason that they should have to wear clean clothes just because they're going somewhere - but if they must, and especially if it's a girl, you should expect a minimum of no less than 4 shirts, skirts, dresses, and underwear try-ons in order to get the right outfit. Boys will present their own issues- no one will notice if the socks don't match or even if there is only one sock on as long as he has on his shoes. Check those pockets too - now and then a favorite caterpillar or lizard has been known to stowaway with his consent, only to be brought to the dinner table at grandma's house - with no appreciation from the other dinner guests, I might add.

They grow up and they grow away and you're left with memories. And on Mother's Day they send or bring a card, maybe some flowers, and maybe some other token of their love, and it makes your heart smile - just like it did the day they were born.

So what -is- a mother.

She sacrifices her body and her life for nine months to carry a child. There is no gratitude from the baby for this... there are only demands and mother meets each one. At any time she is expected to, and does, relinquish a moment of peace and quiet to change a diaper, to warm a bottle, to walk, and rock and pat and soothe and comfort her little one.
She will sit up, without rest, all night long with her child if he or she is sick, and she does it without thinking of herself. A mother will go without so that her baby has what it needs.

A mother is a nurse, a doctor, a teacher, a friend, a confidante, a companion, a disciplinarian, a heroine, a co-conspirator, a playmate, and a comforter.
She will laugh at the silliest and corniest jokes, even if there isn't really a punch line.
She will cry when her child cries and would gladly, and eagerly, trade places with her child if she could, so that her little one doesn't have to suffer.
She doesn't hesitate to wipe away tears, to try and kiss away scrapes and bumps, and she knows that band-aids only hide the wound - it's her kiss that heals it.

When her children are grown and when they have thier own children, they will understand the true meaning of Mother's Day...and you'll know that even if they didn't say it, they appreciate everything you went through to get them to where they are. And they also understand, without fail, what you meant when you said " I hope that you have a child just like yourself when you grow up!"

A mother = Love, personified.

Happy Mother's Day!!!