That moment (or those moments. Dang it, why did I make multiple moments an option? I should have stuck with one moment for consistency. Oh well, too late now) probably means something different for each one of us. Because the archetypal mother doesn't exist. Because the Hollywood mother doesn't exist. Because the only mothers who exist are our mothers, and they defy categorization or generalization.
For some of us, our mothers cooked for us and cleaned up after us and kissed our boo-boos and made us feel warm at night. Which, for some, meant you grew up secure and happy. For others meant you grew up smothered and repressed.
For others of us, our mother worked and sweat and fought in a marketplace not designed for women and yet she went out every day for her job or jobs and brought home enough money to pay for food and maybe our clothes and school and probably the sitter who had to sit with us while she worked and wished she was home. And to some, she's a hero. To others, she's the absent parent we wished would have chosen a different path.
For others of us, our mothers are a faint memory, distant and gone, snatched away from us either by the cold grip of death or by the menacing temptation of a life without a family or kids or responsibility. And neither death nor neglect is a better option. A mother who is gone is a mother who is gone, whether we can remember her fondly or not. And yet some of us try to dwell on those memories. Others of us try to forget.
For many of us, our mothers were our guardians, our angels, the gatekeeper who kept us away from the glares because we are different from the norm, or the influence of those anxious to corrupt the young before their time, or the criticism of our imperfections from a society so intolerant of anything other than the Christian/white/male/straight lifestyle they feel safe around. For others, our mothers were the sources of those very glares and corruption and criticism that scars us and will scar us to our grave.
And yet, for all of us, our mothers share one common trait: It was from their wombs we were made. And, for better or worse, no matter how wonderful or terrible they were, to our mothers we owe a debt of life. A debt of gratitude.
And, if you are lucky enough to have a mother who gave you more than just life, gratitude should be the easiest thing to offer.
Here's to all of you mothers, and all of our mothers, and all of those mothers.
Happy Mothers' Day.
(PS. And to my mom, who tucked me in and read to me, who worked many jobs to help feed me, who to this day watches over me with her loving eye and voice of concern, and who I don't get to see nearly often enough, I say: "I love you Mom! You are the reason I am who I am. Thank you for that. Happy Mother's Day.")