Tomorrow will be Mother's Day. Each year we take the day to celebrate moms. We buy flowers, buy candy, do chores, cook food, and pamper the woman who gave birth to us or raised us in some form or fashion. On social media we will see profile pictures changed to our moms and memes of all sorts praising moms. We will even go so far as to praise the special group of "Pet Moms" who don't have little humans of their own but have fur babies, as they are called, to raise instead. Additionally, we will have husbands, boyfriends and baby-daddy's all waxing poetic, in most cases that is, about the bringer-of-life to their respective mini-me's. Hell, even the sports teams will wear colors to show love for moms and have many interviews of the players praising their mothers. This, for all intents and purposes, is one of our biggest days of the year. Why shouldn't it be? I mean, every one of us has a mom no matter if we know her or not. Moms should be praised. Right?
Here I am sitting, at 44 years of age, contemplating this very question. Moms should be praised, right? I watched my only biological child be brought into this world. I watched his 112lb (at time of his birth) mother scream silently as his 6+ pounds entered the world. I watched her throw up every day of every month, except the month of September, from morning, noon and night sickness. I watched her be too hot, too small, too frail, too angry, too hungry, too fed up with my ass and everything else for her entire pregnancy. As she held our son, I sat in awe of what I just witnessed. I could not do it. Hell, I would not do it. I didn't want kids as a "donor" and damn sure wouldn't want one as the "holder." That is for sure. With that knowledge I sat and had mad respect for the act of giving birth, be it natural or C-section. This was 1996 and, by 2001, my wife would move back to England, and we would be divorced by 2005. By the time 2011 came, I would not speak to her again. My only biological son would stop speaking to me after his 18th birthday. So, with that candidness, would I still say Happy Mother's Day to my ex-wife? The answer to that is why I am writing this blog.
Giving birth makes you a mother. Now, I know not only "mothers" can give birth, but, for the sake of science, I will use this take. (Note: I know that surrogates can carry the eggs and sperm of the parents thus giving birth to someone else's child/ren). Giving birth does not make one a mom, which brings me to what that means to me. See, a mom doesn't have to give birth to a child. A mom doesn't have be blood-related or be there for every step of the kid's life. A mom is more than a mother. Now, some would prefer that I use the terms the other way around, and I can understand that too. Even I am fighting with which way I would use them mainly because of how we, as people, use the term "mother" in all facets of life. In the end, it came down to it being that a mother gives birth and a mom covers nearly every facet of child-rearing. This is my thought process anyway. I know some of you reading this are scowling at your computer or phone, but bear with me before you start beating me with mom-stuff. Let me get back to the answer about my ex-wife.
My ex-wife was a mother and a mom. See, my oldest boy grew up loved. He grew up responsible. He grew up confident. He grew up pretty independent. He grew up to make his decisions. See, he doesn't have to pay homage to me or her, for that matter. All he has to do is be a responsible adult. She and her spouse raised him to be a good young man. Our relationship aside, I'd have to say Happy Mother's Day to her. Now understand that isn't just because my son has done well for himself so far in life. Being a mom (or dad) is about the tools given for the kid(s) to succeed, and this is the important part, WITHOUT her or us. No parent can guarantee what will happen to, or with, their kid(s). So I am not judging the outcome of a life lived or the choices parents, in this case, mothers make with their lives. And who would I be to do that anyway? This is more about what I am thankful for and what I recognized as I got older. I am grateful for all the moms in my life. I had to start with my ex because it is important to understand that personal relationships aside, being a mom is about developing kids into adults that can cope with life.
This brings me to my mother and mom Wanda who raised a hard-headed, intelligent, idiotic adventurist, and a lot of other colorful titles, into this guy who is now a three-time author and motivational speaker. My mom put up with lying, cheating, stealing, failing, breaking rules and, at times, laws, while always pushing me to be better. She hardly ever let me see her break even. In hindsight, I know how much life had weighed on her. She didn't love me in the public eye. She loved me in reality. She gave me every tool she had learned and trusted me to go with it. When I got in the car with the recruiter on February 10, 1993, she held her tears long enough to let me get out of sight and told me she was proud. She watched me travel all over the world and stood by when she found out, after the fact, that I had been in another foreign country (again) and had just gotten back. She has been mom, and she has always pushed me to be stronger and to stand on my own platform of life. Not once have I ever thought I needed to impress her or prove myself to her. No, she always pushed me to impress myself and prove to myself that I was everything she saw and more. So, she is one mom I wish all the Happiest of Mother's Days to. Additionally, I have another son that I did not create. I had nothing to do with the night he was made nor the first two years of his life. I, however, married his mother and have been his dad since then. He is in his first year of college working on his dream to become a doctor. His mom, my wife, has raised him to be a confident, strong, independent and self-assured young man who is both humble and sensitive to others. A child is often a reflection of the parenting he or she has received in life. This child has reflected that his mom ---and me too, dang it. :) --- has taught him well. I am honored to have watched her teach our young man. So, definitely Happy Mother's Day to her.
This blog isn't just to praise the moms I mentioned or the many other moms in my life but to say great job to any mom who puts it all out there to teach her kids the ways to succeed. Better yet
those who let their kids soar and take flight. Being a mom isn't easy. No one knows the tears shed, the sacrifices made or the commitment it takes to care the way a mom does, but we can all respect it when we see what great moms can do.
As a kid there were many people who thought I was a failure or, at the least, going to be one. I heard it from other moms throughout my life but I also heard the opposite, from not only my mom, but from many others. I choose to think about those moms who helped raise me to be the man I am, either directly or indirectly, because I don't grow without you.
We often take for granted those little things that are done for us as we gain our footing on life. We often forget the warmth of a hug that just says, without words, "It's going to be alright." We all too often share a meme or a picture of a long lost pillar of our very existence while knowing how many times we simply forgot to remember them while they were here. We judge their actions and their deeds with our own woulda-, coulda- and shoulda- dones, as if we understood a fraction of what they went through for us.