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Parenting Forward: Call your mother

Let’s call Mother’s Day what it really is: a celebration of life. It’s a commemoration of all the sacrifices your mother made for you. It’s time to reflect on the cold, hard truth and the warm, fuzzy fact that you just wouldn’t be here without your mother.

Plain and simple. Intriguing and complex.

It’s fantastic to think that there is a perfect mom and a perfect time and place to be a mom. Or a child, for that matter. This may be true in romantic novels, or on the facades of Hollywood or even across a neighborhood fence, but the honest truth is that there is no perfection in motherhood unless that you don’t define perfection as messy and challenging and full of all sorts of unknowns.

For that alone, every mom deserves a gold medal and a parade of tickers for her courage and faith in embarking on the selfless journey it took to raise you.

The perfect time to be a mom is when you become one. From there, it’s a lifetime’s work of blood, sweat and tears, even in the face of no guarantees.

It’s no secret that modern motherhood somewhere along the line has become something very different from our mothers, because today two incomes are the norm to support a family, a family usually much smaller than that of our grandparents. Generations ago, the majority of mothers married at a younger age than today and pushed the baby in the pram.

Yet, moms remain powerful people in our society. A mother will stop at nothing to protect her children. She is the finder, she is the nurturer. Every decision she makes, she considers the welfare of her family first, whether she stays at home or works or volunteers, she also manages the household.

A good mother always sets a good example for her children. Through her actions, she teaches the work ethic and sacrifice, and at the same time, she is a role model for her children. She does not hesitate to let her child try. She knows how failure can be the best teacher. She knows how much perseverance can be for the successful student.

The mothers agree to be interrupted, but not without instilling in them the good manners that this requires. Moms are patient and tenacious every time they have to repeat a polite reminder. They see the long game as the jackpot and they take long hours to get there with a stash of steel in their child’s name.

Mom deserves chocolates. Mom receives congratulations and toasts. She is complimented.

Send her flowers for all the sleepless nights. The 2 a.m. feedings, the ones she watched over while you waited for you to make curfew, and when you didn’t, the ones she made sure you were okay, before going to bed. ensure that you were held accountable.

Take her out and thank her for the few hundred thousand dollars it costs to raise you.

Write her a letter praising her for all she has done to make sure you get through your medical checkups and dental appointments. Your bandages and your bedtime stories. Your trips to school, activities, part-time jobs and friends’ houses. Acknowledge all she gave when you needed someone to hold your hand when you were sick, or a shoulder when you were sadly disappointed, or a quiet ear when you were so angry. When you had to go home from a sleepover in the middle of the night. Because you failed when she rightly advised you to study.

When you hug her, repeat how much you appreciate her demonstrating what it means to be civil to others, even those who sometimes disagree, and how to stand up for the things that matter to you. She taught you how to stand up for yourself with confidence just by being honest and humble at the same time. And supporting your ideas and actions with substance, always striving to accept your emotions as natural while resisting the temptation to weaponize your feelings or those of someone else.

Thank her for showing you what is good and beautiful whenever it is present, and for striving to attain those ideals; at the same time, learning to see what is ugly and bad and how to accept one’s own faults.

Do not polish anything. Real life shines on its own and the truth is you wouldn’t be here without it.

Call your mother. Tell him you love him.

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