“Mother” is one of those words that we think we understand, yet “Mother” has a hundred different meanings depending on who’s using or hearing the word.
Mention “Mother” to Joan Crawford’s children, and you might get a wire hanger in the ear. Mention “Mother” to others, and you’ll get a honeyed story of love, kindness and connection.
And then there are the women who are not mothers, yet mother children every day. Teachers, aunts, neighbors, coaches, friends – these women are the ones who step up and provide stability and frameworks for children who might have mothers more like Joan Crawford and less like Michelle Obama.
I thank them.
Because it was women like this who gave me a glimpse of the woman I might become.
And it’s them that I recognize today, Mother’s Day.
Giving birth is just one aspect of mothering. Caring, nurturing, listening, challenging, supporting – these are the hallmarks of women who make differences in the lives of children.
“Every child needs and deserves at least one person who is crazy about them,” said Fran Stott, a noted child development expert. And while having a mother who is crazy about you sets you up for a life where you feel secure, loved and known – sometimes a mother is just unable.
We know this. Three quarters of great literature focuses on this theme.
And don’t get me started on the absent-mother theme in every single Disney movie.
Today, let’s recognize mothers, and thank them. Then let’s take a moment to thank all the other people who are crazy about our kids, too. Who listen to them, and tell them they are valued. Who love them.
Today, whether you’re a mom, or you’re a neighbor, or a Girl Scout leader, or a softball coach, or an aunt, or a school bus driver, or a widowed dad – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being crazy about children. The work you do is vitally important, and emotionally enriching.
With every kindness to a child, you create a better world.
And I am absolutely crazy about you.