Mama’s Day

mamaHappy belated Mother’s Day to all you sweet mamas out there, including my very own sweet mama, Chuchi. I don’t know about you, but I love Mother’s Day – more than my birthday, more than Christmas, more than Thanksgiving and Fourth of July. Being a mother is something I cherish (despite periodic appearances to the contrary) and it feels good to be fêted for something I’ve earned. I didn’t have much to do with being born and although I suppose we deserve to be congratulated for having survived another year, I don’t feel as comfortable wallowing in all the attention surrounding my birthday. But Mother’s Day is another story altogether. All those unseen and unappreciated things we do to keep our families healthy and happy and together, to keep our homes warm and bright and joyful, to keep ourselves sane and healthy and open, it all does deserve some recognition. We deserve to step out from behind the camera, stove and steering wheel for a day. I say, bring it on, lovies. Bring on the homemade breakfasts (delicious, Doctor Dash). Bring on the flowers and cards and little clay bowls and necklaces and paintings and all the dear dear things that little kids make for their mamas for Mother’s Day. I love it all. I even love the short story penned by Supergirl called “The Butt.” Last year, Saint James wrote me a song on the piano. This year, I get “The Butt.” It’s not about my butt, mind you, but riveting nonetheless.

And although I haven’t been able to spend Mother’s Day with my own mom for years, I think she knows, hope she knows, how much she means to me and how much my parenting mirrors hers. My house isn’t nearly as clean as hers, but in so many other ways, in ways that I can’t help, in ways that I don’t even notice, my mother colors the way I go through my days with my kids. I’m not a mirror image of her, but rather, of the same ilk. As if a painter did a series of paintings, variations on a theme, with obvious, superficial differences, but with a common thread – but what is the thread? Soul? Disposition? Habits? I’m not sure I can put a finger on it, but it’s there.

I’m not a mother who hides her emotions from the kids. For better or worse, they hear about the dark and the light. I’m a mother who thinks sitting down together for home cooked meals every single day that it’s remotely possible matters a lot. I’m a mother who’s indulgent, who believes in treats and pleasures and the beauty of saying yes some of the time. I’m impatient in so many ways, but I try, mostly unsuccessfully, to quell that in myself. I like plants and sun and watching my kids play sports. I don’t say the rosary in the car like my mom did for my brother’s nail biter tennis matches, but I gasp and eek and cover my eyes with the best of them. I don’t put a premium on my own perfection, but I do value solidity, reliability, warmth. I don’t let them touch my sunglasses, but I do let them play with my shoes. I’m not very subtle about trying to influence my kids to love the things I love: music, books, food. I leave sports to Doctor Dash. And technology. I’m bad at making my kids do chores; bad at taking money from them when they promise to pay me back. I’m a distracted mother a lot of the time, until those moments when I’m not. Be present is my mantra and my greatest seemingly insurmountable challenge.

I don’t like labels like “good” and “bad” as applied to mothering because I can be both within a span of moments. Motherhood is nuanced and complex and nothing short of a million words will do to describe any one particular mother. A million words. Or maybe just one.


Happy Mother’s Day to Chuchi and to all you other mamas in the trenches with me.

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