What makes a mother

What makes a mother

Mother’s Day is not just for the Jones’s.

It’s not just for the mom who lives in the bungalow with the picket fence and four children enrolled in private school. Not only for the ones on the school’s Parent Committees and running the local Girl Guide troupe.

That mom planned for her four children, the house, the husband- and she got them. She’ll have cheerio necklaces on dental floss brought to her in bed this Sunday morning to celebrate her motherhood, along with misshapen pancakes and a mug of cold water with floating coffee beans on the top. Her husband will acknowledge her effort with a gift card to the spa.

That mother will feel blessed.

But the day is for the moms who go unacknowledged, too. It is especially for them. Though I can guarantee that the fluffed pillow upon which Mrs. Jones props herself to eat her Sunday breakfast has been punched in frustration a time or two as well over hidden struggles, and Mrs. Jones deserves her recognition nonetheless.

But living right next door to her, in the left side of the duplex, lives Susan and her husband John. Kind, warm and generous, they are known to be active members of their church. Known to be generous with their halloween treats when children come knocking, and quick to offer last minute childcare to their family members when they want a night out on the town.

They ought always be available to help, after all, they don’t have kids.

Though it’s not for lack of desire. For four years they’ve been trying to keep up with the likes of the Jones’s, and every other family with kids for that matter, but they share their struggles with no one.

But Susan’s wet pillow knows her pain, and so this Mother’s Day is for Susan, too. Because motherhood belongs to whomever wishes to write it into her narrative, or for whom it becomes written.

In that case, then, it’s also for Kristina, four houses down, who delivered her daughter Mercy in the middle of February during a wicked snow storm. Except nobody would have ever known she birthed or was pregnant at all, because at 15 years old Kristina’s body hid the pregnancy well, masked behind a winter coat and one of three oversized hoodie sweaters she had on rotation.

Even though Kristina only knows her daughter now via picture updates since placing her up for adoption last year, at night Kristina dreams of Mercy, and how she might have fit in- how it could have worked if she had worked harder at it. And for that reason, the day is for Kristina, too.

And there’s Marnie living in the top condo at the corner of their street, who is the very first to drop off her two children, ages two and four, at daycare each morning, and the very last to pick them up. Marnie, who wears the leather coats and stiletto boots paired with a matching Louis Vuitton purse, who puts her kids down to sleep at 7pm each night, after heating, serving and tossing their microwavable suppers.

Marnie, who is the neighbourhood’s slack of a Mom, secretly laments nightly over how her first, second and third miscarriage drove she and her husband apart. He couldn’t understand why she just couldn’t get over the three losses, despite the fact she was blessed with the other two births. People in the neighbourhood call her the neighbourhood drunk without ever asking why. Even so, this Mother’s Day is for her, too.

Four mothers, one street.

Whether her baby exists on the outside, only existed on the inside, or just in her dreams, this Mother’s Day is in celebration of that mom. It’s for every mom who struggles to paint a pretty picture, who cries she’ll never conceive, who worries whether she made the right teenaged choice, who screams at her children and screams or soaks her pillow at night in tears and frustration- It’s for each and every one of them.

Whether society treats us as such or not, our babies are a part of us, and that makes us mothers. And so each mother ought to feel her journey is valid this Mother’s Day, and always.

Happy Mother’s Day to the Mrs. Jones, the Susans, the Kristinas and the Marnies. From one neighbourhood, one mother, to the next.





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