For All Moms

This is for all the mothers
who froze their buns off
on metal bleachers
at soccer games Friday night
instead of watching from cars,
so that when their kids asked,
"Did you see my goal?"
they could say,
"Of course, I wouldn't
have missed it
for the world,"
and mean it.

This is for all the mothers
who have sat up all night
with sick toddlers
in their arms,
wiping up barf laced
with Oscar Mayer wieners
and cherry Kool-Aid saying,
"It's OK honey, Mommy's here."

This is for all the mothers
of Kosovo who fled
in the night and can't
find their children.

This is for the mothers
who gave birth to
babies they'll never see.

 And the mothers
who took those babies
and made them homes.

 For all the mothers
of the victims of
the Colorado shooting,
and the mothers
of the murderers.
For the mothers of
the survivors,
and the mothers who sat
in front of their
TVs in horror,
hugging their child
who just came home
from school, safely.

For all the mothers
who run carpools
and make cookies
and sew Halloween costumes.

What makes a
good mother anyway?
Is it patience?
Broad hips?
The ability to
nurse a baby,
cook dinner,
and sew a button
on a shirt,
all at the same time?

 Or is it heart?
Is it the ache
you feel when you watch
your son or daughter
disappear down the street,
walking to school
alone for the first time?
The jolt that takes you
from sleep to dread,
from bed to crib at 2 a.m.
to put your hand
on the back of a
sleeping baby?
The need to flee
from wherever you are
and hug your child
when you hear news
of a school shooting,
a fire,
a car accident,
a baby dying?
I think so.

So this is for all
the mothers who sat
down with their children
and explained all
about making babies.
And for all the mothers
who wanted to
but just couldn't.
This is for reading
"Goodnight, Moon"
twice a night for a year.
And then reading it again.
"Just one more time."

This is for all the mothers
who mess up.
Who yell at their kids
in the grocery store
and swat them in despair
and stomp their feet
like a tired 2 year old
who wants ice cream
before dinner.

This is for all the mothers
who taught their children
to tie their shoelaces
before they started school.
And for all the mothers
who opted for
Velcro instead.

For all the mothers
who bite their lips,
sometimes until they bleed,
when their 14 year olds
dye their hair green.

 This is for all the mothers
who lock themselves
in the bathroom when
babies keep crying
and won't stop.
 This is for all the mothers
who show up at work
with spit-up
in their hair
and milk stains
on their blouses
and diapers
in their purse.

 This is for all the mothers
who teach their
sons to cook
and their daughters
to sink a jump shot.
This is for all mothers
whose heads turn when a
 little voice calls
"Mom?" in a crowd,
 even though they know
their own offspring
are safe at home.

This is for mothers
who put pinwheels
 and teddy bears
on their children's graves.
 This is for mothers
whose children
have gone astray,
who can't find the
words to reach them.

This is for all the mothers
who sent their children
to school with stomachaches,
assuring them they'd
be just FINE
once they got there,
only to get a call
from the school nurse
an hour later
asking them to
please pick them up.
Right away.

This is for young mothers
stumbling through
diaper changes
and sleep deprivation.
And mature mothers
learning to let go.
For working mothers
and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers
and married mothers.
Mothers with money,
mothers without.

This is for you all.
So hang in there.
The world would be
a terrible place
without the love
of mothers everywhere.
You make it a
more civil, caring
and safe place
for the precious children
in our world.