The more I parent my own boy, the more I'm finding myself grateful to MY mom. But I'm pretty sure I don't tell her that often enough. Since it's mother's day and all, it's on my mind, here's the very short list of gratitudes, just the order they came to me. There's more in there, but there's the time, and also, the not boring you completely with a long long list. Thanks mom for:
Joy to the world!
My mom loves holidays (especially! Christmas!) and she always does a lot of work to make them special and beautiful. For instance, we always had lighted real candles on our Christmas tree, a tradition that sort of shocks my safety minded husband. But we never burned the house town, and lighting the tree on Christmas Eve was something I looked forward to the whole year.
Chop wood, carry water.
I'm always grateful to mom when I chop wood for fireplace, bake bread, sew a button on something. And sometimes when I wash dishes or fold laundry. She taught me to do all these things, and I didn't see them as learning at the time, just as stuff we did together.
Getting things done
My mom works hard and has created a really successful business with her business partners. She is also is really active in politics. She always taught me that the work I do makes a difference.
My mom went to school a little bit at a time through most of my early childhood, until she got her degree as a nurse when I was a teenager. I am so proud when I think of that now, knowing how hard it must have been to scrape together the money and the time for it. And I know she battled with the administration to get help for child care and recognition for student parents on campus. Many years later, she inspired me to fight my own battle for the same recognition.
Rolling with the punches
Back in my rad lesbian days, my mom was the coolest! In fact, she was the one who took me to my first Holly Near concert. Also Ferron.
Famous coming out story
Me: I think I am a lesbian.
Mom: Oh, thank god! I thought you were on DRUGS!
Later, when I switched rather suddenly, and rapidly married a man (and a man in a wheelchair at that!), she was cool about that too. Must have meant lots of explaining to her friends, but I didn't really think about that or thank her at the time.
You know, when I was in high school, my mom always came to every play I was involved with, often to multiple showings, even when I was (as happened so often) Second Assistant Stage Manager Twice Removed. At the time, I always just thought that Mom must love high school theater, but when my brothers came along, she never missed a little league game, either.
24 Nurse Hotline
I started thinking about this gratitude list just this week, when my mom called to check on how the pesky migraines I've had this year were coming along. I gave her an update and we talked about various treatments and medicines for a while and it reminded me how grateful I am to have a mom that is so clearheaded and caring about stuff like that. Back when I was pregnant with Elijah, my water broke at 5 in the morning a month before he was expected, and mom was the first person I called. She got on a plane in Minnesota that afternoon and was in Seattle just after he was born that same night. We hadn't planned that, but it was so awesome to have her here, since E was so sick at first and both he and I needed lots of TLC!
And speaking of having babies
I can just barely figure out this parenting thing most days, and I'm 37 years old(!) so I'm so in awe of my mom managing it when she was still a teenager herself. The biggest gratitude I have these days is that she just stuck with it.