An ode to mothers

Leslie Silverman

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there.

I can’t imagine how hard being a mother is. The only “child” I have ever had has been of the four-legged variety. And while it’s kind of sort of similar, it is by no means in any way the same.

Moms get a very different rap than dads do. Just think of how many songs reference mothers and how many reference fathers. Or how mothers are portrayed in movies and literary works. They seem to take all the “blame” when things go wrong in the family.

I know many of my friends blame their mothers for their own dysfunction. I hear stories of overbearing mothers, mothers who are too judgmental, moms who are too strict or not strict enough.

Moms can also get the credit when things go right in life. I also have friends who have moms who are their best friends, their biggest cheerleaders, their “go-to” person even after they are married and have their own families.

I think for me my mom has been all of the above. She certainly was more of an influence on my life than my father was. Most of my memories as a child, whether good or bad, involve my mom, and far less so my dad.

I remember my mom was my first adventure partner, taking me to the beach nearly every weekend in the summer when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. My mom insisted I learn to swim and sent me to summer camp even though I often protested.

I can recall the closeness we had when I would talk to her about my first high school boyfriend, Cliff. I remember how excited she was when I got my first dog as an “adult” and she referred to Brutus as her “granddog.”

My mother was the one to make certain our family took vacations every year, ate dinner together at the table (at 5:30 every day) and attended every extended family event and affair no matter what. My mother is the person with whom I associate my culture and need for tradition.

When my mom turned 65 I took her on her first camping trip. Neither of us were prepared to see snow in the Grand Tetons in August! When my mom turned 80 I flew across the US to show up on her doorstep. I got both my siblings to visit her too. She had no clue we were coming.

Out of all my adventures my favorite was playing tour guide for my mom when we went to Russia over Christmas and New Year’s. My mom and I drank Cognac on New Year’s Eve watching fireworks light up the sky over the Kremlin.

The same trip found us sipping tea in the Four Seasons. We went from sleeping in a hostel to watching the “Nutcracker” at the Bolshoi. That’s how my mom rolls — she can adapt from 5th Avenue to Harlem in the blink of an eye.

Recently, my mom had my back by going to Missy’s funeral that I was unable to fly back home to attend. Only a mother does things like that. Only a mother sacrifices herself to give unconditionally.

These one day holidays are never enough to say, “I love you and thanks for loving me.” But they do allow us to pause and reflect on just how important some people are in our lives. My mother has been and continues to be the most important human in my life.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom — and to all the moms out there. I hope it’s a truly wonderful day!

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