Well, it’s that time of year again, the time to honor those who survived hours of agonizing labor pains to bring all of us into this wild and wonderful world.
I both love and dread this time of year with equal vigor.
Allow me to explain, won’t you? (Of course you will, what choice do you have?)
Growing up, I was provided with all the staples of a healthy childhood:
- Ugly-ass 70’s clothing (I blame the time period, not Mom!)
- Adequate housing. (More than adequate in fact, I had a kick-ass room under the stairs with superhero wallpaper and a stack of comics. I even had a radio! That was a big deal back then, kids.)
- Star Wars action figures and Mego dolls (If only I’d held onto both.)
- Plenty of sugary cereal to enjoy during hours of Saturday morning cartoons.
- The freedom to eat my dinner in the basement while watching Doctor Who. (Sure, now everyone has a TV in the kitchen, but I was a trendsetter for introducing television into the dinner paradigm!)
That last part made all the difference in the world.
Take a good look at the evils that have been unleashed upon our world of late; the common thread running through the minds of the perpetrators is obvious: there is a disconnect between reality and the maelstrom raging in their minds.
Love keeps us rooted.
Love keeps our focused on the here and now and it gives us a reason to anticipate and strive for a better tomorrow.
Without love in our hearts we’re vulnerable to despair, which leads to frustration from which self-destructive rage is born. And far too many of us have chosen to vent our rage upon innocents. And in the aftermath, does the world speak of love and understanding, even for those responsible? No, instead we give speeches filled with empty rhetoric in which we vow to avenge the victims.
Hate is easy. Cowards hate, for love requires courage to put one’s needs and wants aside for the good of another.
Love is spending half a day in labor and feeling your heart burst when presented with a screaming, shaking infant covered in bodily fluid.
Love is getting up at three a.m., changing vomit-stained sheets and holding a cold cloth to your child’s head while telling them “Everything is going to be all right.”, even when you know it won’t be.
Love is raising a child on your own. (No offense to us dads, but let’s face it, in the eyes of parenting history, we’re not exactly known and hailed for our dependability.)
Love is becoming your child’s best friend, an accomplishment most parents lay claim to when nothing could be further from the truth.
Love is simply being there.
As I write this, a hooker is literally waddling her way through the lobby. Her wavy, bright blonde hair is a bird’s nest. Her jean jumper is wrinkled and stained. Her cowboy boots have carried her to dark places and are definitely showing their age. Her mascara has run down her left eye. She is every prostitute you’ve ever seen on film.
Except she’s far too real. Seriously, this girl is rough.
Admittedly, I am ignorant in regards to her upbringing and so I refuse to pass judgement upon her, but I can’t help but feel grateful for having lived through a childhood that didn’t lead me to a hotel room in the middle of the night to have ugly sex (there’s no way this girl had the sort of coitus that poets write about, trust me), with a stranger for money.
As for the dread I expressed at the onset of this post, it springs from the frustration I feel when searching for words worthy of honoring someone who has literally given me everything.
I grew up with love as my armor and it kept me protected and from the perils of this world. It kept me strong, even on those days when I wanted nothing more than to lie down and die.
I am now forty-three years old and the tale has come full circle; now it’s my turn to be the provider, the defender, the best friend.
Will I fail? Hell yes! That’s what being a parent is all about, screwing your kids up royally. But doing it with love, of course. In the end though, I think I’ll be all right.
And I know who to thank for that.
I love you, Mom.