She’s the one who carried you, cried for you (maybe she still does), and really, no one else will ever care for you quite like a mom.
We don’t all have one right now – some moms are no longer here, some never were, and others… well it can be complicated. And the caring part? As a child, it was never a thought. As a lippy teenager with full eye-roll effect, it was annoying. As an adult with kids of my own, I finally get it: My mom really does rule. She lived with me during my teenage years (anyone who knows me can imagine the horror), and she didn’t hold it against me when I grew into a better-mannered adult. My mom stayed home when my two younger sisters and I were kids and teens. While it always seemed things were magically taken care of at home, it was my mom, doing literally everything (Dad is pretty great too, but we’ll wait for June). She volunteered at our school, she drove us to everything (we lived in the country, so everything was a drive), and she always, always, always had our backs. Still does. I can safely say the reason I’m a writer is because of her. I had tonnes of books growing up and was an early reader as a result. In Grade 6, a publisher offered me a contract for a story my mom helped me write – I remember there was some kind of $5,000 fee so who knows what kind of opportunity it was, but we definitely declined. In junior high, she started a newspaper at our school. I forget what it was called, but she and my dad had a friend who was (still is) a national journalist and she came to our school to talk newspapers. Maybe it was then I fell in love. The newspaper folded after a lesson in defamation (some older girls wanted to rate classmates on attributes most important to preteen girls). In high school, I was a terrible student, with the marks to match. I was always good at writing though, and it got me by. As it turned out, my bad grades and poor attendance had me facing somewhat limited options in Grade 12. Fortunately, Calgary’s Mount Royal College journalism program only required a 65% average, and I was in. This wasn’t, however, due to large effort on my part. Somehow, without nagging and prodding (but I’m sure there was a lot of frustration on her part), I attended my first semester of classes. It kind of took off from there, and finally, I felt I wasn’t such a slacker anymore. I don’t know who was happier when I got my first byline at a major daily newspaper. My mom, without me realizing it at the time, had set things up and made it possible for me to find the thing I was meant to do. If I wasn’t a writer, I honestly don’t know what other kind of employable skill I would have. She never told me to work harder, she never used words that stung to make her point. She was – and still is, always there. My mom is the type of person who will ask you how your day is going, and as you prattle on, she’s not distracted or doing something else. She’s fully present, she remembers what you’re up to, and although she’s not huge in doling out advice, her example is something I really try to carry with me, for my two kids. I try to be patient and present and I tell my kids often how awesome they’re doing at life – I also tell them when they’re not.
I’m definitely not the mom that my mom was to me. I’m not a good cook. I can barely keep up with my PAC responsibiliies at the school, and I’m not a super-keen soccer mom with the minivan and the fresh fruit. I haven’t baked cookies in two years. My husband works from home, and he’s usually the one making dinner and ferrying kids to soccer and Kung Fu and birthday parties. As I get more experienced at this mom thing, I realize we all do it differently, and that’s OK. If the standard you grew up with exceeds what you think you’re providing, it’s OK too. Conversely, if you know you’re doing better for your kids than what you grew up with, that’s super important too. We’re all doing our best here. So moms, here’s to the dream of sleeping in, breakfast in bed, and a day of leisure. HAHAHA. Probably won’t happen, but however you’re spending your Mother’s Day – with your mom, remembering your mom, or if it’s just a regular old Sunday, take a second to say thanks to the woman who raised you. She was trying her best, too.