A Shout-out to Our Moms on Mother’s Day
It’s true – neither of us is a mother (did we just blow your minds with that insight?) but we both have mothers. On this Mother’s Day we thought we’d take a moment to thank these special women in our lives. As a happily childfree couple, we’re well aware that raising hellions like us can’t have been easy.
The card I picked out for my mom this year depicted a young girl in pigtails scribbling all over the wall of her living room. Inside, the card said something like, “Mom, thanks for always encouraging me to be myself.” While I don’t recall ever having been in that exact scenario, it is certainly reminiscent of many scenes from my childhood. I liked to try stuff, push boundaries, and, um, express myself.
As difficult as I know I was, there has never been a single time in my entire life when I ever doubted that my mom loved me. I was always supported in whatever it was I wanted to try – and try things I did. A stint in ballet, an attempt at figure skating, a year on the swim team, many years of flute playing, a turn as a cross country runner, and even a slightly uncharacteristic experiment at being a sorority girl.
In each of these endeavors, my mom was there to cheer me on and support me – I don’t think she missed a single flute recital, she was there to watch me come in near the back of the pack in my cross country races, and took me shopping for the black and red clothes I wanted to wear to signify my sorority membership. These are just a very few of the many experiments my mom supported me through on my road to figuring out who I wanted to be and what I wanted out of life.
As an adult, that support has continued. My mom is one of the very few people outside academia who has actually read some of my scholarly work (oh, who are we kidding, she is one of the very few people PERIOD who has actually read some of my scholarly work). This is a torturous task (I can’t even read my own dissertation without wincing and wondering what the hell I meant) but she has always emerged from said reading with insightful questions, useful comments, and ever-present kudos. This 40-year-old roller derby player even got a derby-centric care package in the mail from halfway across the country to support me in my first-ever bout!
This kind of support seems to be a never-ending and all-too-often thankless job. For the 40+ years of cheers and love, I can’t thank you enough, Mom. Love you forever!
The card I picked out (ahem … Amy picked out …she knows me pretty well) has a picture of a young boy on the front that looks frighteningly similar to me at that age. From his facial expression he might be engaged one of the following activities:
- Planning to do something he shouldn’t
- Thinking about something he already did that he shouldn’t have
- Both 1 and 2
The inside reads “My mother had a challenging time with me but I know she enjoyed it.”
My mother did have a challenging time with me – I know that to be true. I prefer to believe that she also I enjoyed it.
My mother is an immigrant from the former Czechoslovakia by way of Germany. She was a young girl at the end of World War II, 14 if my math is right. At the end of the war, millions of ethnic Germans that lived in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere were expelled from their homes even though many of them had lived in those places for hundreds of years. My mother’s family was one of these and her family lost everything when they were forcibly moved to Germany.
One result of these hardships early in my mother’s life was that she developed an incredible amount of resiliency. Very little phases her and she always keeps going no matter what life throws at her. Setbacks are treated as opportunities, not as roadblocks. My mother is very religious and she very much subscribes to the saying “When God closes a door, he opens a window”. She might expand on that by saying something like “A wall is just a door with a bad attitude”.
I just made that up (©).
The point is my mom has a great eye for egress points, if you know what I mean. I’m not religious at all so I give my mom, not God, full credit for opening windows and knocking down walls, as the case may be. To paraphrase Tim Gunn, she makes it work.
This Mother’s Day I’d like to thank my Mom for teaching me to be resilient. I love you Mom! Have a great Mother’s Day!
What have you learned from your mother (and we use that term liberally — giving birth and rearing children is only one way to mother, of course)? What will you be thanking her for this Mother’s Day?