Why Moms? Someone has to move the world | The Latte Guy | May 7

“The call to simplicity and freedom is a reminder that our worth comes not from the amount of our involvements, achievements or possessions, but from the depth and care which we bring to each moment, place and person in our lives.” – Richard A. Bower

Although they probably never met, Mr. Bower could have been talking about my mom. When I look back on it now, I realize that my mother’s life was no bed of roses. Mom went through the discomfort of pregnancy and the trauma of childbirth four times within a period of six years.

I assume childbirth is traumatic for women – it certainly was for me, both as a more or less passive participant and, later in life, as a casual observer.

Mom wrangled dirty diapers for the better part of a decade, labored ceaselessly to keep the four of us fed and clothed, intervened in our spontaneous food fights, endured years of sleep deprivation and suffered through the slings and arrows of adolescence.

We weren’t bad kids, but that didn’t prevent us from engaging in acts and omissions that pushed the boundaries of civilized behavior and challenged the patience of even the most patient of mothers. We sinned in ways both eloquent and pedestrian, behaved at times in ways both frivolous and destructive, asked all the wrong questions, and could turn the simplest inconvenience into serious daytime drama.

Yet, through it all, mom loved us and supported us and never sold us to gypsies or sent us to live with the wolves no matter how richly we may have deserved it. We could come home in the middle of the night with our new clothes in tatters, snake tattoos on our faces, our hair on fire, and a fleet of police cars parked in our driveway and all mom would ask is what kind of sandwich we wanted her to make for our school lunch the next morning.

If any one of us ever called out for help, mom would come running, no questions asked. Being a mother is that simple really, and that profound.

Through countless school events, endless sports chauffeuring opportunities, and the many and manifest horrors of high school, mom was there. And the thanks she got? As high school graduation rolled around for each of us, we lit out for college, leaving her and our dad and the house we grew up in behind as if we were escaping prison and going to live at Disneyland.

During my college years when I was a free-thinking, scraggly bearded soap-dodger, my attitude toward parents in general and toward my own parents in particular began to evolve in that phenomenon known as maturity. Some years later, when I had a more accomplished beard and an even larger world view, I finally realized how incredibly lucky my sisters and my brother and I had all been to have drawn our mom in the poker game of life.

We probably still don’t tell her often enough how much we love and appreciate her, but such is the fate of all good mothers.

A wise friend of mine with an even more accomplished beard once opined that our jobs here on earth are to use whatever gifts we have been given to advance the universe two inches each, to put the shards back together, to patch up the wounded and lift the spirits of the downtrodden. The best way to do that is by handing out kindness and love and laughter and tenderness like candy bars to everyone we can reach.

If my friend is right about that, and who am I to doubt such eloquent wisdom, then in your case, mom, mission accomplished!

In fact, I think you’ve moved the universe more than your required couple of inches, which is nice because it means that Liz and Becky and Dave and I can all afford to slack off a little on our two inches.

Thanks, mom, and Happy Mother’s Day.

Tom Tyner is an attorney for the Trust for Public Land. He is author of “Skeletons From Our Closet,” a collection of writings on the island’s latte scene.

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