It’s interesting how nearly everyone is posting today about how their mom is the best. All over the social networks I’ve seen this sentiment expressed in various ways, but always simply and matter-of-factly. It’s not a contest, it’s a statement. It’s not up for debate, it’s a fact. I think that this says a great deal about mothers and the enormous role they play in our lives. Like the children they bear, mothers come in all shapes and sizes, and no one can truly compare what their mother has meant to them with what a mother has meant to someone else. It is a special bond that endures long after childhood and even after mother and child are separated by time, space and death. A mother is forever, and that’s pretty special.
My brother and I would of course agree with each other that our mom is the best mom. The fact that so many other people have agreed with us and told us so just lends further credence to this assertion and leads me to believe that we’re right after all. But again, not trying to one-up anybody, just sayin’ that as moms go, ours is pretty amazing. There have been so many times, especially in recent years, when my brother and I have discussed what a great job our parents did in raising us. Some kids turn out well in spite of their families, but I feel like I can honestly say that my brother and I are who we are because of our family.
I think the reason that we’ve recently come to talk about it so much more is because we’ve gotten to the age where parents look back and try to atone for all of the perceived damage that they have done. My mother, over the past few years, has started apologizing for things that we don’t even remember. We probably don’t remember them because they stood out in her mind as mistakes, whereas they remained in ours as love. I don’t know what your mom is like, but if she’s anything like ours she puts her heart into everything she does. It’s always been clear how much she loves us, and I am so thankful of that. And every time she points out that she wasn’t perfect and finds some flaw in our upbringing, our response is always the same: ‘Mom, you were awesome. Everybody loved you. Kids wanted to come over just to see you half the time. You did a wonderful job.’ One of these days we’re going to convince her that we’re telling the truth.
One of the many ways my mother made my life outstanding was in her unflinching support of me. I owe the pursuit of my dreams and my perseverance toward achieving my goals to her constant encouragement and love. At no point did she ever make me feel ridiculous or small for believing in myself, even when that translated to dreams of being a spy, a ghostbuster or, truly far-fetched, a writer. And yet somehow she managed to do this without making me naïve about the future. She was tactful and measured in her advice and unflinching in her support, and this has given me a practical attitude toward driving my destiny, even as I see the world open to endless possibilities.
Our family is something rather unique, as well. Although I made my mother and father parents, I was not their natural child. My brother, although their second child, was also their first-born. Not a lot of families can boast that kind of thing, and it’s just another reason why ours is so special. Adopted at under two months old, I’ve never known any home other than theirs, and I’m glad that I’ve never had to. My mom used to quote a poem to me, one that she also had hung up in my room, called The Adoption Creed. It reads:
Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own;
Never forget for a single minute: You didn’t grow under my heart but in it.
While trying to look up the author of this poem (who is, as the great ones often are, Unknown), I discovered several variations on the last line, but I’m fairly certain that’s the way that ours went. It was cross-stitched on some kind of cloth and framed, and for the longest time I assumed it was something that everyone had. That was kind of the beauty of it. Although I knew from before I can remember that I was adopted, it never felt strange or unnatural in any way. I knew that my mother loved me as her own, and that was all that mattered.
So on this Mother’s Day, I just want to say thank you. There’s nothing that I can do to equal what my mother has given me, but I hope that she knows that wherever I am in the world, she is my one and only mom, and that is the way I like it. Thanks, Mom, for everything, and Happy Mother’s Day.