I have this friend from college, Emily Cobb Henry, who writes these amazing notes for many mom friends in her life around Mother’s Day. This gift is unlike many others, requiring no money or space on a shelf collecting dust that would just mock me daily–just hours of precious time. She is a talented writer who contributes hilarious and timely stories on her blog “All Together in a Scattered Sort of Way” (https://alltogetherscattered.com) in a way which highlights and recognizes the many challenges of parenthood (and childhood) for the modern woman and man, attempting the balance with everything life demands. She also, incidentally, raises puppies for Canine Companions for Independence, changing the lives of people with disabilities. You should check her out, or at least her writing; I am inspired by her words daily because they remind me to look for the sunshine in everything, even when, well, you feel downright stormy.
Which brings me to my mother. My mom, the wise and wonderful, Polly Prahm Ehrman, would pack us up as children to spend the day at ocean. We would be the first people at the beach- literally the first people on the beach, even before the weird old guys with metal detectors. She stowed enough food for the day to take us straight into the evening. Now the day would, more often than not, start off as cloudy and overcast, and my brother and I would whine claiming the sun would never come out. Polly would squint her eyes, finding imaginary sunshine where there was none, and say to us confidently, “Oh, yeah, this is going to blow over,” or, my personal favorite, “This will burn off anytime.” It was as if she willed the sun to happen, and sure enough, by 9 or 10, the clouds would part and Mom would smile smugly, crank down her large beach hat, and return to her Nora Roberts romance novel.
Don’t get me wrong, she played with us when we were really little, but as we got older, she became the facilitator of fun. She brought us places, sometimes even just to the middle of the woods, and demanded that we be creative- that we play- that we use our imaginations. We played outside all day, and she claims she tried to remember to put sun block on us, but I believe this to be highly debatable.
Polly admittedly stopped helping with my homework in 4th grade, but she always made sure I had a space at the kitchen table to do my work. She bought the plaster of Paris for my 7th grade Roman aqueduct project. She bought me the acid wash 501 button fly Levis I had to have for my first middle school dance despite not being a name brand kind of family. She encouraged me to try out for a singing part in the school play because I wanted to, but must have realized deep down that the singing tryout would not equate with a singing part. She sat patiently in waiting rooms during the awkward years as I tried on bathing suit after bathing suit telling her that bathing suits were stupid.
Flash-forward to the adult years… just when I didn’t think I would ever fall in love again, I became friends with Geoff coaching soccer together. Then she met Geoff and said, “Well, I think he is perfect for you, other than the fact that he is a Republican.”
And when we were trying to become parents ourselves, she mothered me more than any other time in my life. I like to think that her best parts of motherhood are trying their hardest to rub off from her to me– like the fact that our kids are super dirty at the end of most days from playing outside and loving nature, and sometimes, honestly, most of the time, we don’t wash our hands before we eat. But we always brush our teeth before bed. We don’t always put our toys away; our house, like mine growing up, was lived in and loved but certainly not immaculate, and we sometimes lose pieces of our toys– but I can attest to the fact that our kids are experiencing a magical childhood because they share quality time with all four of their grandparents. Geoff loves that my mom stalks President Obama whenever we visit my brother and his family on Martha’s Vineyard. She is a friend to all of our friends, and Gram to all of their children. She makes me laugh daily, and I’ve really missed her these two months she has been in Florida. She and my dad can’t handle mud season here in North Woodstock any more. Blizzards they are fine with– it’s the transition to spring which puts them over the edge.
And one day, I’ll blog about my mother- in- law, because despite all of the stereotypes and cliches, I’ve hit the jackpot, too, in Joyce Krill. She loves me, flaws and all, and understands this motherhood gig is the ride of a lifetime and one best hold on and hope. Honestly, can you imagine raising Geoff Krill when he could actually walk? Seriously, a story for another day, but I’m one lucky mother to have so many mirroring mothers and friends to be a part of our village.
Happy Mother’s Day! One day, you may or may not understand everything your iPhone can do, and until that day, I’m still around and happy to help you to figure it out– along with your Fitbit, and the DVD player, and we’ll conquer that Indian Head hike as soon as you get back. Thank you for always modeling what is really important about being a mom– time, patience, humor, and compassion. I love you…