Sunday, May 8, 2011

I am grateful for Moms...

So I've been sitting here trying to think of some inclusive way to thank all the mothers in my life, to describe them in a way that accentuates and honors their womanhood and their motherhood and their humanity in general, some way to describe what my own mother has meant to me and to my little family, what my wife means to me and to our kids, what my mother-in-law means to all of us, some way to describe the generational influence of grandmothers and aunts and sisters and even kindly neighbors and sweet baby sitters who have provided and continue to provide a female presence in my and my children's life, but every time I sit down to do it I end up with a list of things they "do" that on the one hand makes them sound really good, but on the other hand implies a certain set of cultural expectations about what women "should" do that I fear may turn into a list of ways women can feel inadequate.

(That's a long way of saying that too often the pedestal we sometimes like to put women on can, if we're not careful, become a whipping post--and I wish this was my original idea, but its an old feminist mantra).

Consider this. The QB is a wonderful mother. But when I try to qualify that I end up with a list of chores she accomplishes well, a set of qualities she exhibits (patience, kindness, sacrifice, etc) when interacting with me and the boys. But that's not what makes her wonderful. Those are fine of course (particularly her blender pancakes and her rendition of "peek-a-boo"); However, they are not HER, but rather manifestations of who she IS.

And she manifests different attributes and characteristics differently depending on the time of day, the number of kids screaming, and the likelihood that I've remembered to put the lid back on the milk.

But she is still HER, regardless of what she is doing, or saying, or whispering through clenched teeth (though she does that rarely).

Let me put it another way. Dads like myself get a lot of credit from a lot of people just for showing up. Taking the boys to the store, or simply being in the same place with them qualifies me for "What a good Dad" comments all day long.

It is enough, apparently, in the eyes of many, for me to just "be." But rarely, particularly on mother's day, do any of us express our gratitude for the simple presence, the existence, the perseverance of the women in our lives. Perhaps its because fathers have a long, lame history of absenteeism that a man's mere presence is lauded as an accomplishment (not much of a bar, if you ask me), but this should be cause for even greater appreciation for women who, in the very act of "being" demonstrate a measure of sacrifice and love that too many men can't even begin to fathom.

So, today I celebrate Mother's day by saying thank you to my wife, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sisters, and friends, not for what you do, but for who you are. For what you are. Thank you for BEING, thank you for persevering, thank you for working out your own existence the best you can.

Thank you for showing up!

1 comment:

Hannah said...

here and here! And I love the "art gallery!"