Mother’s Day in the US is all about honoring those who gave us life, held our hands, wiped our noses, and stood us up to take on the world. If you have one, and I know you do, you should do something for her to let her know you care. Even if she’s not with us, you should do this thing that is in your heart for her. I’m extraordinarily lucky to still have my mom. She is in my thoughts every day. She comes up in conversations regularly, especially in topics having to do with being honest and taking pride in your work. But before I get too far down this rabbit hole trying to illustrate how much I love my mother, I want to take a detour and land in a different place altogether.
I am among the most fortunate on this planet having had a stable nuclear family unit growing up. My mother and father were present and accountable my entire childhood and still are to this day. I have drawn strength from their bond my entire life, so I have struggled with what I laid in contrast before my own child. While not everything is my fault, the buck stops here. This single maxim made me deal with a lot of guilt, even some that was not my own. In the end, the relentless return to the right path when a mistake was made, and the acceptance and forgiveness of myself has lead my son and me to a better place. He still has his mother, but our family unit did not survive. After a divorce and many long months and years, we remain standing. And we both gained something we never would have bet on.
A truly remarkable thing happened along this journey from then to now, and this is why I started writing this note. I met someone that carried the gift of family love in her heart and was willing to share it. In her, I found the same comfort and relaxed control I always felt in my own original nuclear family. I found myself acting like myself; there was no requirement to be anything but me. Like going home, her heart was a comfort. She took on the enormous task of helping me manage from afar the disaster my young son was surviving day to day. She fearlessly challenged me to disabuse myself of more and more false notions and toxic history, and she did the same for our son. She continued to help build us up by shouldering the burdens with us. In case it bears repeating, none of this was easy. While she never had a child born of her own body, she is among the most amazing mothers I have ever met face to face. I honor her today and every day. And don’t worry, I’m not trying to take anyone’s motherhood away. I am simply challenging you to remember that some folks drop responsibilities while other people pick them up.
There are all sorts of mothers in this world. Some gave birth and share DNA with their children. Some bring their children out of the darkness of the system through adoption. Still others inherit their children through the processes of divorce and marriage. In far too many instances mothers of all stripes have to work to not only show these young people love, but help rebuild broken foundations of trust and even dignity. All of these fine people deserve our love and respect.
I have finally found in this perfect match, the person who will stand beside me and be that solid backstop for our son to come back to when he needs it. If he needs it. While the entire history hasn’t been what I wanted for our son, the future is precisely what he and every son ultimately needs. I am eternally grateful, humbled. Loved.
Thank you Michell. I love you.