You teach your children some fashion sense
And they fashion some of their own
- Gordon Downie

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thanks, Mom

I stand outside/This woman's work/This woman's world" - Kate Bush

I'm certain I've said thank you to my mom more times than I can count. I'm equally certain I have never have explained exactly what I'm thankful for. There are several moms in my family and I work with a primarily female staff, most of whom are moms. With any luck, this post will illuminate the respect I have for these ladies and anyone who is blessed with the title of "Mom".

A while ago, I wrote a blog for Father's Day called My Most Important Job. I was able to write it from my heart and speak very clearly about how much it means to be a father. I enjoyed thinking about the lessons in fatherhood I learned from my dad and both of my grandfathers. This post is a bit tougher to put into words. I hope I can do justice to how much I admire and respect moms.

In my line of work, I need to deal with situations that involve speaking to mothers about their children. The bond between a mother and their child(ren) is one of the strongest things I have run into. Even the toughest, most at-risk, troubled children will not betray their mom. Mothers of these troubled kids usually don't give up on their child. Even a mother who says "I don't know what to do with that kid anymore" has deep-rooted affection in their eyes. It's a connection that no father can really understand because we don't carry this child inside of our bodies.

Watching the birth of my children is one of the greatest experiences in my life. It was unbelievable, really, to see a new life begin. One of my favorite movies in university was John Hughes' "She's Having a Baby". In this movie, Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern play a couple who have a very difficult time bringing a child into the world. The scene where McGovern's character gives birth to their daughter is both gut-wrenching and touching. Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" provides an emotionally-charged soundtrack to the scene, but I never truly understood it until we rode the emotional roller coaster of becoming parents.

Our first son was born a nearly month early and my wife's labour was extremely quick. At first, we weren't sure it was happening. Within hours we went from being a married couple to being parents, completely responsible for bringing a new child into the world. The birth of our second child was more difficult and happened very close to when it was supposed to, but it was no less amazing. Giving birth is nerve-wracking, difficult, painful, draining, life-changing and ultimately SO rewarding.

My wife is my best friend and the best mom I know. Admittedly, I'm biased, but I get front tow seats to watch what she gives to our children every day. The patience, kindness and soft-heartedness that exist in both my boys is a direct result of their mother's influence. She has given them the gift of music and I so admire her knowledge and ability. My wife's tender spot for animals lives on in both of my kids. Their love for our dog is unconditional and automatic, even when she is poorly behaved. My wife has been sleep deprived for the last eleven years but she is always there for our kids. She clips fingernails, combs hair, changes beds, listens carefully, makes the best lunches and gives huge hugs that smell like love. When I am hard on our kids, she lets me know and provides a balance every child is entitled to. Her influence and my respect for her is impossible to fully describe.

My mother is equally admirable. She is one of the smartest and best-read women I know. Our weekly trips to the Strathcona County Library remain the best memories of my childhood. We would load into the baby blue Chevette and spend an hour or two exploring the wonders of the library. I knew that mom went to the University of Alberta and for as long as I can remember, it seemed like a given that I would also go the U of A one day (in fact, I liked it so much that went there to earn my Bachelor's and Master's degree). My mom was also patient and dedicated. She gave herself completely to a life of working for Safeway and watching her go to work at all hours of the day and rarely missing a day taught me the importance of dedication. Some of my favorite memories as a kid were simple things like going to the library or driving out of town for a hockey practice, game or tournament. Mom did everything she could for me and my sister. The sacrifices my parents made for us to be involved in sports, dress well, attend school and become adults are incredible. It makes me very proud to say that my mom is honest, selfless, creative and talented.

The other moms in my life possess many of the same qualities. The ladies I work with strike a balance between being amazing teachers and fantastic mothers. My mother-in-law has a huge heart and is absolutely there for all of her daughters. This dedication lives on in both of my wife's sisters, who live and breathe for their children. My sister is another wonderful example of how becoming a mom changes everything. She had her first child at a relatively young age and it completely changed her life. I have spent a lot more time with my sister's family over the past year and it is so rewarding to see how much she devotes to her three children.

I don't know if I have done justice to the importance of the moms in my life. I know it is impossible to cover all of the things that moms are. Moms bring softness to a cuddle and strength to a hug. They raise, feed and deliver children to our world. They are equal parts tender and tough. Moms protect and defend their children.

Every child deserves a mom like the moms in my life.


  1. Awww...thanks Hon! A BIG part of the reason I can do MY job so well is because of all of the support you give me! (Even when you leave us for Chicago...ha ha)!!

    Lori :)

  2. I hope your Mom gets to read this. I'm sure it would give her the goose bumps. I hope the teachers you teach with read this. I can tell you that the lady teachers would probably not be surprised by what you said.
    Love your posts as they are thought provoking.