An open letter to my mom on Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

First off, happy Mother’s Day.

I don’t remember the day I was born (duh) or the day you brought me home from the hospital (double-duh—I was only two days old!), but I’ve seen pictures. The one I remember most vividly is you holding me maybe minutes after I was born, but probably more like hours. I mean, I don’t know firsthand what I woman who’s just been through labor really looks like, but it looks like it was recent enough. Anyway, this is going to sound unglamorous, but I can see some of the blots of busted capillaries, and all I can say to that is wow. You loved me enough to bust those capillaries (and God only knows what else) laboring to actually get me out into this insane place we call the world after carrying me for nine months and before carrying me for another, I dunno, twelve until I learned how to walk.

I don’t have concrete memories of you until I’m about three or so, but I do remember fragments from before. I remember fall, especially cleaning for the holidays, with that special astringent lemony scent that only Soft Scrub has. I remember hearing Enya and Fiona Apple. I remember being warm and cozy, and feeling safe, and, most of all, loved.

I’m not going to go through every single memory I have of you, but what I will say is this: every one is a treasure. Okay, most of them. I say “most” because I know I did some stupid things that rightfully pissed you off, and you’re scary when you’re mad. (Seriously, the thought of you being angry still cows me at times because you’re good at the teacher-ly wall of fury thing.)

I’d like to think that you’re proud to say “That’s my Chickadoodle!” in a lot of ways. I know you are in some, anyway. Honestly, there are times when my fall-back option is to just ask myself, “What would Mom do in this situation?” Usually, I call and ask, but I’ve done this for snap decisions, too, and I’d say it’s served me well.

A lot of the time, though, I can look back and remember what you taught me without having to think. You taught me that it’s okay to ask for help. You taught me how to swaddle a baby (or, in my case, a baby doll). You taught me to never back down. You taught me to trust my instincts. You taught me to read twice and for God’s sake, show my work if I want to get any points. You taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes. You taught me how to bake coffee cake and French breakfast muffins. You taught me how to sew, and how to use that funny iron-on stuff that allows for much easier hemming.

You taught me a lot, and you’re not done teaching me yet. But more than that, like I said before, you love me, even when I’m not all that lovable. You go above and beyond, and someday, when I have kids, I hope that they’ll write things like this about me, and that they’ll look at you and say, “My grandma is awesome”. (It’s a ways off, yet, but I still hope it happens!)

I love you, Mom. Now, and every day. Always have, always will.

Your Chickadoodle.

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The Case For Mothers’ Day

As we all know, Mother’s Day is this Sunday. So, of course, in anticipation of this, I have written a long-ish, sappy note that I will post here because the world really should know just how awesome my mom is.

However, this day is not just about one woman; not to me, at least. It’s about all the women who have taken on the role of a mother at some point in my life. Yes, my mother carried me for nine months and labored with and birthed me, and for that, she’s special; my number one mom by far. Nobody—nothing—could ever take the place my mom holds in my heart.

But that doesn’t mean that what the other women in my life have done for me isn’t special and wonderful. My aunts—whether they have children or not—have always been there for me. My grandmas (God rest my mom’s mom), too. It doesn’t matter whose kid you are; at family gatherings, we’re all just one big blob of relation, blood and otherwise. Some of my cousins are moms, too, and they’re older than me by enough that I can look to them for motherly advice, as well. (No, ladies, you are not old; just experienced. And I love you.)

And then, there are my friends’ moms. Some of them have known me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Some of them have met me only once. I daresay that not all of them love me, or even know me all that well, but the ones that do have definitely treated me as their own, and that’s a wonderful feeling that I want to thank them for giving me.

There are so many wonderful moms in my life. How on earth can I celebrate just one? So, I propose that instead of a singular Mother’s Day, we celebrate Mothers’ Day. It’s exactly the same. Heck, your mom can be the only mom you celebrate. Or you can celebrate no mom at all! In fact, if there are any computer science people reading this, I propose we call this day Mother* Day. (To understand this in-joke, look up the meaning of “Kleene star”.)

In some circles, I’ve heard that celebrating anyone other than the mother(s) who birthed/adopted you, even if you are celebrating your own mother(s), is rude. It takes attention off your own mother, or you’re hogging someone else’s mom, or something. I don’t get it. (I do get that everyone has their own traditions, but really, jumping down someone’s throat because they invited a mother to an event out of kindness and love is going a bit overboard.) I also don’t get allowing only daughters to celebrate their mothers, which is another thing I’ve heard happens—are kids not allowed to celebrate the parent who doesn’t share their gender?

I’m not trying to say that we should scrap the concept of a day to celebrate mothers, or a day to celebrate fathers, or gender in general. I’m saying that I want to honor all these women (and when Father’s Day rolls around, all these men) who have taken on such pivotal roles in my life, and that I want to do it in such a way that it makes them comfortable and loved and respected. So, no, you don’t have to do it my way. Nobody does. But me? I will, anyway.