This column is dedicated to my mom and, by extension, all moms across the Boundary and beyond.
I love my mom endlessly, but I’ll admit here I sometimes forget about Mother’s Day until it’s come and gone.
If I have ignored a Mother’s Day or two, it’s because I’m not one for holidays that, if we’re honest, are actually designed to celebrate capitalism. The same goes for Valentine’s Day, which I think generally makes women unhappy, anyway.
But I’m not heartless, and I’m definitely not impervious to popular culture. I sincerely hope that, in sharing a bit of my mom’s story, readers will appreciate their own mothers — not as the objects of so, so many Mother’s Day cards, but as parents who did their best and, for all their mistakes, gave us their youth.
I’ve heard said that motherhood is tremendously rewarding, but I’m willing to bet it’s even more exhausting. Consider the following anecdotes:
I remember being in a café with my mom when another woman snapped at her own boys. This clearly reminded mom of the days when my brother and I would habitually cause public scenes. We would stand up in restaurant booths, our Velcro shoes marking up the upholstery as we stared at other people trying to enjoy a meal.
We must’ve told mom a million times that we weren’t intruding, we just wanted to know what other people were eating before we ordered.
Of course, there were scenes at the family dinner table, too. I was seven when, one night, I remember my mom sipping a glass of wine, glaring at my little brother as he laughed into his spaghetti. “I’m not upset that you crayoned swear words all over your picture book,” she sighed.
“What gets me is that you didn’t tell me they were there before I sat down to read that book to your kindergarten class today.”
Fast forward to when, at 21, I set out on an international adventure. My dad was driving me to the airport.
“Look, I’m not saying that I don’t need to hear from you while you’re gone,” he said. “But for God’s sake, please let your mother know that you’re okay — every day.”
Months later I found myself in a Laotian internet café, trying not to laugh into the phone as my mom urged me to talk sense into my travel companion who, in a flight of merciless foolery, told his mother he was going to spend the rest of his life as a Buddhist monk. “It was kinda funny,” I insisted.
What amazes me when I think about my mom is that she kept going. She earned a degree in occupational health nursing while my brother and I were in high school. And she still works today — just to stay busy.
And somehow, she was always there. To be fair, so was my dad. But I think mothers give more of themselves than fathers, which reminds me again of that young woman in the café.
“I’m always yelling at them,” she told my mom, half-joking but visibly half-drained.
My mom smiled warmly, telling the other mom, “I remember just wanting to go to the zoo without having to yell at mine, ‘Get out of that tree!’”
Having said all that, I want to wish my mom and my aunts and my partner and my women colleagues a very happy Mother’s Day.
Thanks for all the work you’ve put in. I love you all.