This week I’d like to pay a brief tribute to some of the moms (not actually “all”—I lied in my title) who have made my life easier or better in some way or another. And to say what we say in northeast Tennessee: ’Preciate you! These are mostly moms from my current life, but there have been many who have played a part in helping me over the years, though they usually didn’t know it. I’d like to offer posts like this now and again to lift these women up in gratitude for their part in contributing to the joy side of motherhood. I hope that some readers will reply with their ‘preciations for the other moms in their own lives.
To my mom, first and always, for so many reasons. But today for teaching me that I am, as much as it’s possible, responsible for my own happiness, for making my own income, and for cleaning up my own messes, physical and metaphysical. And I want to thank her for not making me the absolute center of her universe so that my identity wasn’t dependent on other people putting me at the center of theirs. ‘Preciate you, mom.
Also I’d like to thank soccer mom Jill, who has for the last few years organized our middle school boys soccer team, kept on top of the whims of the weather and the coach, ordered uniforms, sent out schedules, brought water to games, orchestrated team pictures, gotten my son to practice after school everyday while I’m at work…the list goes on. We likely wouldn’t even have a middle school soccer team if it weren’t for her, so Jill: ‘Preciate you.
To Susan who raised her boys so much like I raised mine which, what can I say, I like. These are boys who say “thank you” and call me “Mrs. Kinser” rather than by my first name or “hey” or nothing, boys who like salad and like to cook. And eat what I’ve made and thank me for it. These are boys who can stay a couple of days at my house and I hardly notice we have company. So Susan, with admitted egocentrism: ‘Preciate you.
To Kelly who resonates most deeply and regularly with the complexities of motherhood in academic life. Who has started many days, when I’ve had to drag myself into work, with a full recognition of what my morning was probably like, having just been through one herself. Who’d say, tongue-in-cheek, “Feelin’ good? Feelin’ powerful?” when the answer to both was so clearly NO. And who would then joke and laugh through it all with me and get my day to starting off better. ‘Preciate you Kelly.
To Melissa, another fellow academic mom, who doesn’t give a sh#% about all the things I don’t give a sh#% about, who makes it so easy to do favors for and ask favors of and who can turn an excruciatingly long and losing soccer game into my favorite moments of a given week. ‘Preciate you Melissa.
To my new idol, that mom of the family I saw at Sam’s Club a Sunday or two ago, who were having their dinner from the shopping cart, all five of them. Everybody had a slice of pizza and a drink and the parents were moving groceries from shelf to cart with one hand and holding their slice and directing their kids with the other. No time to sit for these folks and no apparent apologies for that fact either. You were a great inspiration (and sorry I was staring but I was in awe). ‘Preciate you, shopping cart family dinner mom.
To these moms and many more whose mothering played a role in my own maternal identity, consider yourself ‘preciated.