We learn a lot from our friends – both good and bad. I may have picked up some questionable “gifts” from my friends – but they have also help make me the mom I am today.
To Neiman: You have taught me that taking the high road matters, the details count, that is okay to do something for myself and that no matter how big of an jackass I may be – you’re still my friend. You are the aunt to Mini-me that swoops in with long weekends of hugs, tickles and lots of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. You remind me to live in today. We may disagree about the importance of a good white blouse but you have taught me that the classics matter – in books, clothes, manners and sometimes in parenting. You reassure me that following my gut – and heart – usually keeps me on the right track. Thanks for loving my little mini like she was your own.
To Geek: Holy shit you put up with a lot. More than anyone else, you put up with my parenting insecurities, frustrations, annoyances and pitfalls. Our nightly talks (yes, we talk every.single.night) keep me sane and remind that my kid is normal, that is okay that not all my friends are normal, that your family is as crazy as mine and that I need to be more patient. You have taught me that I can probably find a better deal and that things are rarely as bad as they seem. Thanks for talking me off the ledge.
To Brenda Starr: You’ve put up with my brand of bullshit for a long time and we’ve seen each other through plenty. Watching you teaches me the difference between quality and quantity and that we are stronger than we know. I wish we lived closer so the kids could play. And, who am I kidding…so Mrs. Cleaver could cook for me, too.
To my brother and sisters: We each had a wildly different relationship with Mom but you totally get why today is tough. The story behind our cries may be different but the tears are all the same. There are not enough word to say thanks. To Patron – just thanks and know that means everything. You and Beach were the first ones in my corner on my path to motherhood and have never left. To Dad’s Favorite, your relationship with the Candy Striper is astonishing and you’ve set a high bar – I can only hope I reach half that high. To Mini-Mom, your perseverance and willingness to look deep and make things better reminds me we can all do the same.
To my mom’s group friends: Yowza, you guys remind what is important and isn’t – and not always in ways you would imagine. I’ve learned so much – you’ve made me laugh, made me think and reminded me what I do and don’t want.
To my old friends anew aka those I reconnected with on Facebook: You set quite a bar – be it for parenting or friendship or standing up for what you believe. You have each taught me to find comfort in what I’m doing right, join me in laughter when I do something stupid (it’s been known to happen) and to stand up for myself and what I believe in. I may do it more quietly than you – but I’m usually walking right beside you.
To former friends, those who just don’t talk to me anymore or those who can only be friends when the wind is blowing in a certain direction: Thanks for showing me the value of my real friends. You’ve taught me to be a better example to my own child when you show her what not to do. You’ve taught me to instill a greater sense of decency, respect and honesty in my daughter. Cannot overestimate the value of that lesson.
To Rona: You set the standard and for that I am grateful. You’ve taught me to embrace my heritage and understand the importance of passing it down. I can only hope that Mini-me, who shares your Hebrew name, will find as much comfort in her spirituality as you did in yours.
To my mom and Big Susan: You each tackled motherhood from a very different playbook. This isn’t about who won that game but what I got from each of you. You taught me the value of friendship and its importance in our lives. You didn’t sit down and explain it to me. You didn’t write me letters. You showed in your actions and your devotion to one another. I’m grateful every single day for that lesson. And, for knowing how to make your brisket, chicken salad and roast chicken.
So, if you admire me as a mother or think I'm setting my kid up for a lifetime of therapy - pat yourself on the back. I didn't do this completely on my own - I can blame you, too. After all, they say it takes a village to raise a child…and while that may be, I say it also takes a village to make a mother.
I wish each of you a Happy Mother’s Day. May your day be bright and poop free – except for your own, and I hope that you’re able to do that in private.