Mother’s Day

This is the day, designated by a small group of bereaved Civil War-era mothers, in which we celebrate the world’s oldest profession: Motherhood.  Merriam Webster doesn’t say anything about a profession requiring a salary, but it does mention the prior knowledge and training that is required. The training for motherhood is is not done in the classroom–(Apologia: I will never forget my “Lactation Seminar” in a lecture hall at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, where the lecturer told us about the young African man, a new father, instructing his American wife on how to hold the baby for the best latch on.  He had had a whole lot more experience with this activity in his village than she ever had!)

My own mother used to point out to me that I didn’t come with a user manual, and if I wanted something from her that she wasn’t providing, I needed to give her a clue.  These days, you can just call the Help Desk.  Buy a book. Join a chat room.  Ask a group of confidantes over coffee and tears.

But in the end, no one answer will ever take the place of exploring with your own child, be it in a quiet conversation, on a silent walk peppered with sighs and glances, or in a full-scale shouting match what it is that hurts, scares, or tears at them.  As a mother, all I can give them back is the sense that I have walked my own rocky road, and I am still striding.  Or standing. Or kneeling in prayer.  And I am still their mother, which means to me that I am one of the most highly paid souls I know.


Now here is a national holiday we can all get our arms around!


Now here is a national holiday we can all get our arms around!

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