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Megan Rossman, Photography Editor
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
For All You Muthas
By Megan Rossman
May 9, 2013
Mother’s Day, like most holidays, has often been a day of discord in my family. Expectations of merriment are lofty and inflexible, often leading to episodes of explosive disappointment. The discovery one year that Boston Market was closed on Sunday resulted in a multigenerational gathering of bewildered and hungry Rossmans in the restaurant’s parking lot. The situation came to a head when an alternate restaurant could not quickly be agreed upon. Bellies growled and tempers flared. Accusations and old grievances began to fly, and several family members fled the scene on foot in search of sustenance. Everyone else probably ended up at the nearby Denny’s—a repository for quarrelling misers on all major holidays. I’ll never know for sure, as I was one of the deserters in that particular battle.
While my recollection of the Boston Market Conflict is hazy now, I’m sure of one thing: My mom remained the most reasonable and accommodating of us all. She usually is. Sure, she has her emotional breaches, but she’s not one to fly off the handle when she can’t get some hand-carved turkey and home-style sides. Her patience has always impressed me, mostly because she has so many valid opportunities to lose it. Sometimes she does. Usually though, her irritation passes quickly and she moves on with her life. I guess that’s what being a mom does to you. You learn to roll with the punches, the poop, the tantrums, and all the other headaches that accompany parenting. You have to.
Growing up, I teased my mother as mercilessly as I did my brother and sister, and as an angsty teenager and young adult, I sometimes shrieked at her, threw things, and slammed doors dramatically. Unlike my siblings, she never responded by throwing footballs at my face or writing “Kill Megan” on my bedroom wall with a Sharpie. Instead, she told me in no uncertain terms when I was behaving like a brat and usually succeeded in making me remorseful. Some kids don’t get that lesson—and they’re easy to pick out.
Along with the character-building rebukes, she offered valuable guidance. When I applied to my future middle school, under hobbies, I listed, “making tiny villages out of sticks and moss.” It was a pastime I had been enjoying for several months in the yard, but my mother suggested I remove it from my application. “It makes you sound like a weirdo,” she explained.
She might have discouraged the promotion of that pursuit, but she encouraged many others. She read to me before I went to bed every night when I was little, and taught me to do it myself. She bought me innumerable art supplies and hung my mediocre drawings on the fridge; came to ballet recitals and proudly applauded every clumsy pirouette; cried with me when our various family cats died even though they drove her crazy in their sprightlier days; and for many years has spent the majority of her waking life attending to other people’s needs. She’s a nurse these days, so now she does it professionally, too.
These things don’t make her unique among mothers. Most of these ladies are doing the best they can, giving selflessly and often. What makes my mom special is that she’s my mom. That’s why I prefer her to other mothers. Whether you’re a mom or a dad, parenting is often a thankless job, punctuated by endless anxiety, physical labor, hourly obligations, but hopefully a lot of love. And, inversely to most salaried positions, it’s a job of deadly importance. That’s a lot to ask of a person. So, in honor of this upcoming Sunday: Mothers of the world, I salute you. May your day be harmonious, whatever your family dynamic.