This is for all the mothers who have sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up spit-up laced with hot dogs, birthday cake, and fruit juice 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 are at work trying to earn enough 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 sat on cold metal bleachers at hockey, baseball or soccer games 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 two-year-old does who wants ice cream before dinner, and then hated themselves for “losing” it.
This is for all the mothers who sat down with their children to explain 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 all 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 or grown up.
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.
What makes a good mother anyway?
Is it patience?
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 1am. when your teenager with the new driver’s license is an hour late getting home?
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.