When I was a school teacher, one of my favorite exercises was to have the students draw a picture of themselves, their family, school, community, city, state, country, continent, earth, and galaxy; each getting progressively bigger. The point, probably quite obvious, was to teach them that they’re a part of something greater, that although their ‘eyes view’ seems monstrous and overwhelming, they’re a speck in the whole, a whole that they contribute to.
I view the word Mother, Mom, Mum, whichever you prefer, the same way. Not that you are an inconsequential speck in the whole of our universe, quite the contrary. In fact, I’d turn the telescope around and look through the back end to view your roles in our homes, society, and universe.
But, you come in many varieties, and at all levels of our lives.
There’s the Mother who physically bore us, and then there are step-moms, adopted moms, mother-in-laws, teachers with motherly qualities, room moms, den moms, moms walking the streets on the ready with a pack of tissues, grandmas, moms affecting legislation, first ladies, Mother Earth, and this big “mother of a galaxy” that we live in.
It’s a word used to describe someone, or something, that gives and takes care of others, and that job, from my experience, never ends, but it’s not yours alone. Nor is it something to be perfected or lose yourself to, it is to be celebrated alongside all of your other characteristics. All of which you bring to being one of the “Moms” in a child, or adult child’s, life that you affect. A duty so revered that we can make suggestions to you, but know “…you don’t have to if you don’t want to…”
This song, “Mom Please Quit Smoking” by Ghost Mice/Andrew Jackson Jihad, is an odd one, but, it relates.
The opening line, however comical, sets the tone of observations and memories, real and thoughtful, that a son has of his Mom growing up. They aren’t sunshine walks on the beach as a photographer chooses the smile to keep, they’re the real moments that help challenge, nurture, and develop the life of a child who looks up to you as one of the main women in his life, a woman that is loved. Loved so much he has but one request – take care of your health.
Thanks to all of the Moms who take the time to nurture our children and teach them the essential qualities it takes to be a loving and giving human. Or, perhaps, a driven, hard-nosed, sensitive, and every other quality of humaness that you pass on.
We’re watching, listening, and taking notes while you share your life with us, all of it.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.