First and foremost, I want to recognize my mother this Mother’s Day. As I’ve said before, my mom is the best. She’s supportive and loving and pretty much all-around amazing, but I’ve already covered that. Mother’s Day — it makes me think of my mom, of course, but then I also think of other people. Sometimes it’s people who are in my life currently; sometimes it’s people who were in my life in the past.
Mother’s Day usually also makes me think of my theatre director from high school — after my mom, she has been one of the most influential women in my life. We were a very tight-knit theatre group, like family, and I adored her. I still do, in fact. She’s wonderful.
Mother’s Day makes me think of my family, especially of my maternal grandmother — mother of eight children and matriarch of the Russ family. Mother’s Day makes me think of my certain friends’ moms — people who have raised terrific kids, people who have welcomed me into their homes and lives. Mother’s Day makes me think of the dance moms — that core group of moms who supported us all through years of rehearsal, performances, recitals, sleepovers, Korea trips, camp, and life in general. Having the dance moms is like having a whole bunch of caring aunties who live close by. They’re fantastic.
Sometimes, Mother’s Day also makes me think of the women I never really knew — those women back in Korea. My birth mother who gave me to the adoption agency and allowed me to have the life I now lead. My foster mother whom I loved very much, based on the stories my mom tells about how I recognized my foster mother in the photo of her holding me when I was still just a baby. I don’t remember them, but they were part of my journey to where I am now.
For me, Mother’s Day is primarily a way to celebrate and thank my mom. It is also, however, a day that causes me to reflect on all of the people in my life who have cared for me in a maternal kind of way, everyone from my high school theatre director to my Bryn Mawr customs mommy (if that makes no sense to you, feel free to ignore it as a Bryn Mawr thing).
I feel a little weird about how gendered Mother’s Day is because, while it works well for my mom, it’s definitely not right for everyone. Still, my life is pretty much dedicated to tearing down the gender binary . . . or perhaps opening it up to a world of possibilities, instead of just being a binary (to view it in a more positive, constructive light) . . . so I don’t feel terribly guilty about taking a day off and making today all about my mom.
To everyone out there who celebrates it, no matter how you identify or whose mom you are (friend, dog, other?) — and especially to my mom — Happy Mother’s Day.