The title is an actual phrase said by a camper my husband had in his cabin years ago. Genius.
To all you mothers out there – I don’t know how you do what you do. I have a hard enough time keeping track of myself, and can’t imagine being left responsible for the lifelong wellbeing of other, much smaller humans. You know how they say that when you have a child, you develop a depth of love that you’ve never experienced before – like there’s a secret holding tank hidden in your soul? Well, I think there’s another secret holding tank, this one for all of the patience, grace, self-sacrifice, and humor that you will exhaust in the care of said child. Two tanks for the price of one.
It’s great to be in that stage of life where you can look at motherhood from a couple of angles. Yes, I am still young and childless, and my perceptions are probably quite infantile, but I appreciate being able to observe the parenting that many of my peers are currently up to, as well as remembering the parenting of my own mom and dad when I was younger. Don’t worry – they still parent me (they thought my middle school years were bad; just wait ‘till my reckless thirties!), although guess who brought the Easter baskets this year? This girl did. Packed in brown lunch sacks, no less.
Mom and I lost in the woods four and a half years ago.
A long time ago I realized that my mom is special. No, it’s not because of the way she says croissant (cwassohn) or because she collects turtle figurines, although I suppose it could be. Just now I was about to say that it is because she’s outstanding or incredible or some other tired and empty phrase, but I realize that she’s special for so many reasons. When I would spend my Tuesday nights sobbing because she would go to work on Wednesday morning, she would hold me in reassurance when really I deserved a slap across the jaw (it was only an afternoon apart – get a grip). When I would make myself a bowl of tuna and mayo and crawl under the dining room table to eat it like a cat, she wouldn’t laugh hysterically at my expense (that I’m aware). The times I casually drank cough syrup or dish detergent, she didn’t freak out at me and call the ambulance. During the years when my sister and I shared a room, we managed to keep it continually under a foot or so of books and/or clothing, and we kicked and screamed at each other amongst jumpers and the Boxcar Children. Mom didn’t throw us out on the street. She didn’t even cage us up in the basement. Though I’m sure it happened at some point, I don’t even remember her getting furious with me. Ever. On the contrary, I remember her gorgeous smile. I remember how she could be practically paralyzed by a funny story, only to come up for little squeaks of breath at random intervals to remind us that she was alive. I remember how she sat on a bench with our backpacks at the amusement park so we could ride one more rollercoaster with dad before the gates closed. I remember her swimming with sea rays in Grand Cayman and climbing a waterfall in Jamaica (in a bikini no less). I remember her almost exclusively in a state of joy. This could be because I have a selective memory, but in reality, I think it’s because more often than not, this is how I find her. And if you know my mother, you know that I’m not lying.
She is the best mom ever.
In yo’ face.