This is for all the mothers who have …
Sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf laced with Kraft dinner and wieners, birthday cake, and cherry Kool-Aid saying, “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.”
Who have walked around the house all night with their babies when they kept crying and wouldn’t stop.
This is for all the mothers who have shown up at work with spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their blouses and diapers in their purse.
For all the mothers who have run carpools and made dozens of cookies for school teas and sewn Halloween costumes. And all the mothers who HAVEN’T because they’re at work trying to keep on top of the bills.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see. And the mothers who took those babies and gave them homes and all their love.
This is for all the mothers who have frozen their buns off on metal bleachers at hockey, baseball or soccer games any night of the week instead of watching from their cars, so that when their kids asked, “Did you see me?” they could say, “Of course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” and meant it.
This is for all the mothers who have yelled at their kids in the grocery store and swatted them in despair when they stomped their feet like a tired 2-year old does, who wants ice cream before dinner, and then hated them- selves for “losing” it.
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This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children and explained all about making babies. And for all the mothers who wanted to but just couldn’t.
For all the mothers who read “Goodnight, Moon” twice a night for a year. And then read it again. “Just one more time.”
This is for a 11 the mothers who taught their children to tie their shoelaces before they started school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead.
This is for all the mothers who taught their sons to cook and sew and their daughters to be brave and strong (and sink a jump shot.)
This is for all mothers whose heads turn automatically when a little voice calls “Mom?” in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home.
This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to school with stomach aches, assuring them they’d be just FINE once they got there, only to get calls from the school nurse an hour later asking them to please pick them up right away. And they do.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, and who can’t find the words to reach them.
For all the mothers who bite their lips sometimes until they bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.
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What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time?
Or is it the heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time?
Or the terror in your heart at 1 AM when your teenager with the new driver’s license is an hour late getting home.
The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby? Or to feel the dull ache as you look in on your sleeping daughter or son the night before they leave for a college in another city.
The need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
For all the mothers of the victims of all the school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely.
This is for mothers who have tearfully placed flowers and teddy bears on their children’s graves. Whose children have died from illness, accidents and the worst of all and hardest to comprehend, suicides.
This is for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation. And mature mothers who have learned and are still learning, to let go. For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers. Single mothers and married mothers. Grandmothers whose wisdom and love remains a constant for their grown children and their children’s children. For Mothers with money, and Mothers without.
This is for you all. So hang in there.