In this historic time of crisis, people bang pots in Manhattan every night at 7 PM, the Navy’s Blue Angels fly in tribute formation across the sky in Dallas, other military planes do the same across the country, superstar celebrities perform from home online for free, and we feel intense gratitude and deep appreciation for our fellow Americans on the Front-Line of COVID, those who are so intensely in harm’s way. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, EMTs, food preparers and food providers, mental health counselors, hygiene and social behavior coaches, teachers (oh my, yes, teachers), sanitation workers.
But we’ve been mostly leaving out one group in our adulation list. A group who have always done each and every one of those Front-Line functions for us, often without much (if any) help or maybe much thanks. Who are they? Moms! It’s Mother’s Day 2020 and, in the context of COVID, it has special meaning this year, I think.
Of all the privileges in the world, the most important one is the privilege of having a great mom. I did. My dearly departed mom was internally tough as nails. Through her youth, she endured hunger and family financial ruin during the Great Depression, accidental deaths of beloved family members at the hands of rural medical care, the tragedy of high school friends dying on WW2 battlefields, moving alone to the city at 18 because there were no jobs in her town and, despite graduating at the top of her class, no college funds either. But she remained steadfastly fun, optimistic and full of life — joking, dancing, singing and teasing. She also taught us so much: faith, discipline, hard work and especially to pick ourselves up and get back in the race.
One of the truly indelible images of my life is the moment when my college girlfriend and now wife became a mother for the first time. Birth truly is a miracle. Being present at the beginning of a new life is indescribably moving. My wife gave our kids the same privilege I had. She has been such a great mom. And now I get to watch that firstborn of ours be a great mom, too. Seeing our daughter instinctively mimic her mother’s sweetness, care, fascination with every day’s new development, cooing, cuddling, worrying — it all warms my heart beyond words.
Happy Mother’s Day to Mom, Margot, Elise and all the other great moms out there everywhere!!