In honor of Father’s Day, I wanted to recognize the people who are often the best father-figures for many children: THEIR MOTHERS…
In this era of late-breaking news and instant status updates, it seems only feats of heroism and tales of tragedy are worthy of our attention. We herald the woman who overcomes a terminal disease, survives a natural disaster, or establishes a non-profit from the ground up. And rightfully so. But what of the everyday heroines, the mother who survives another whirlwind morning of breakfast and teeth brushing and locating lost homework, and still manages to get to the office in the nick of time? We’ve become so used to celebrating only the extraordinary that we forget to cherish the “ordinary.”
My own mother’s tireless determination, soldiering on through layoffs and troublesome kids and medical diagnoses and deadbeat dads, is as worthy of a medal as any recognition bestowed upon a hero of war. For she fought the forgotten battles, the skirmishes that are written off as “everyday” but which suck the energy and vigor as surely as a smattering of bullets: Toiling at a desk job, going on to a 2nd job cleaning office buildings, coming home to cook and clean for my siblings and me, and still finding time to ask how our own days had been. On top of that she put herself through college, taking evening and weekend classes, and studying late at night after the dishes were washed and the kids were in bed. Even in the absence of economic stability, she scrimped and saved and begged and borrowed to ensure we always had a Christmas tree and a birthday cake. There was the morning I woke up with pink vomit, and mom stopped her morning rush to make me her special yerba buena tea and tuck me into bed. The hours she took off of work to attend every elementary school award ceremony, open house, and $4 cafeteria Thanksgiving dinner. The parent-teacher conferences, after-school drill team lessons, and nightly storybook reading (which continued well into adolescence, because nothing was more enjoyable than ending my pre-teen day to mom’s rendition of James and the Giant Peach).
We’re quick to write those things off as par for the course in mothering, as the “simple” things that mothers everywhere do, and ask ‘what’s so special about that?’ A lot. The willingness to put another’s needs in front of your own, to carry on in the face of your own exhaustion, to smile despite your own despair so that your children can feel secure, to stand firm in the face of adversity even when you are standing alone… that is certainly something to awe over. That is something to celebrate. In the end, having produced three well-adjusted, educated, moral human beings is proof that my mom, and mothers everywhere, truly are our modern-day superheroes.