What Mother’s Day is really about…
Editor’s note: Today’s feature is the newest installment of our parenting column written by two sets of Richmonders: Jorge and Patience Salgado (veteran parents of four gorgeous children), and Ross and Valerie Catrow (parenting rookies who have only been doing this “raising a child thing” for a few months). Check back fortnightly to watch them discuss/agree/disagree/throw down over all kinds of parenting issues, Richmond-related and beyond.
It’s girls only this week as Patience and Valerie discuss…
What does Mother’s Day mean to you?
Her tiny three year old hands held my face close and said, “Mom, you will be my mother forever.” I laughed and was glad I bought her the beautiful five dollar glittery dress that resulted in such a generous declaration of love. Not to mention I’m so relieved I will no longer be disowned some day. She is sure the sun must shine for her and has no idea the extent of her mother’s love.
How can she, really? Each Mother’s Day that comes I am more and more aware of my own mother’s. I know now that certain Mother’s Days she desperately needed to be honored and know what her contributions meant to us and the world while other years a smile and a hug would do. I know that children can make you almost certifiable and incredibly clear all at the same time. I know disappointment and questions go with the territory, as does gushing pride and joy. I know how tired she must have been, both physically and emotionally. I know there is nothing that can adequately explain or convey her deep love.
So if there was ever a time to lay out a call, dear readers, it is now. Mother’s Day is around the corner and half-assery will just not do. What form of love does your mother need and want from you this year? Pick flowers for her, write her a card, make her breakfast in bed, maybe not make breakfast in bed and spare her the burnt toast, listen to her stories, go with her to church if it makes her happy, don’t buy her a vacuum cleaner or buy her a Dyson if it will help her reach cleaning nirvana, give her a gift certificate to the spa, watch movies with her, pay for an art class, do her laundry, send her on an adventure trip, clean her windows, tell her the truth, believe in her, love her, love her, love her.
Hold her face in your large adult hands and tell her she will be your mother forever and thank her for life.
As I just became a mother 5 months ago, I never really looked at Mother’s Day as much more than a time to hang out with your mom a bit, get something to eat, and go along your way.
But now, after having carried, birthed, and cared for a child, my perspective has totally changed.
Now I feel it’s more appropriate to hire a sky-writer to paint the wild blue yonder with: OMG, MOM I HAD NO IDEA I AM SO SORRY AND THANKFUL AND I LOVE YOU.
(And that’s just after 5 months. Perhaps I’ll commission someone to carve a statue of her out of a mountain once my kid hits middle school.)
In thinking about how to approach Mother’s Day now that I’m part of the club, I realized that they key word for this holiday is appreciation. Specifically, showing appreciation for what it means to be a mother.
A mother’s job goes beyond the basics of keeping the everyday things in life going. It’s more than the dishes, and laundry, and the keeping-butts-other-than-your-own-clean. It’s helping create people, and not just in the biological sense. That’s not to say that father’s aren’t invested and oh so important to children, because they are. But that mother-child relationship is so specific, sweet, and complicated; there’s nothing in the world like it. For me, being a mother is like walking around with your skin on inside-out. That child reveals more about you to than anything else, making you more vulnerable and more transparent than you’ve ever been. It’s terrifying and wonderful all at the same time.
Just think that some women do this over and over again, knowing what they’re getting themselves into: the exhaustion, the pain, the frustration, the needing to be so many things to so many people. And yet they plug on. Because that’s what mothers do.
The funny thing is, I know my mom doesn’t want sky-writing or a statue for Mother’s Day. She, like all other mothers (myself included) really just wants to know that her children appreciate who she is and what she does, no matter what that ends up looking like.