There are Mothers, then there’s Mommies.

I’ve been up since 5AM and only now am I in my bed, eating Little Caesar’s Pizza, drinking  Smirnoff Ice. The day has been quite the day. It really was not out of this world, I didn’t coach a war canoe to a medal or break any world records but for some reason it was just “quite the day”. Perhaps it was the fact that on this day my job had me hauling 20 children around Superstore looking at the different fruits and with little success, convincing them that they need to eat 4 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I did have success however at the bakery, where their noses pressed right up against the glass staring into the decorated cakes. There was equal success when we named a lobster in the tank in the seafood section, Leona. Suddenly I hear “Mommmmmmmmm!!!!” echoing from across the grocery store. How embarrassing. Didn’t those parents teach that kid to shut-up in the grocery store? “Mommmmmm!!!”, as we move closer and closer to the piercing noise. It has been a running joke within our camp that each of us leaders/supervisor take on a parent role to a group of kids who we call our own. They often come to us when they’re hurt, sad, or just need a little extra love. They also like to pit one another against each other (all in good fun though). They are our cuddles, they are our concern and although we do try and be as playful as possible we do sometimes have to lay down the law in our own special way. When our “sons” and “daughters” don’t show up to camp we are genuinely concerned and for most of the day, a bit saddened that our little buddies aren’t with us. “Mommmmmmm!!!” okay…this voice is sounding shockingly familiar now. Oh my god, I know whose voice this is. It’s my “daughter’s”.

“What do you think you’re doing?!?!?!? Why are you all the way over here????? If you need something use your feet and WALK to me. Are you kidding me right now?”

“I wanted to see if you would come if I called you that, and you did!!!”

In the moment, it was so humiliating, especially when on the civilized walk back I’m stopped by a lovely little woman who says to myself and my brood of 4 (as we have separated from the rest), “My, you have them so well trained”. Yeah k.

I’m a light weight drinker so I will just tell you now that this post has been slightly infused with some 5% alcoholic beverage. The biggest thing I have taken away from this position is how much power you have as “Mom”. To be called “Mom” is an incredible gift and burden in its own right.  After a particularly inspiring day where I talked to one of my children about their life I learned how much we just consider our lives as  what they are even though they are different from the norm. I have two mothers, although I call only one “Mom”. I do not believe that anybody can be Mom. Listening to the stories from these kids of what they consider to be normal Mom things I cannot help but wish and hope that one day, they experience a true Mom.

My mother had me at a young age. The decision to give me up for adoption must have been incredibly difficult. I’ve been told this and sometimes I felt like I was told that to lessen the blow that I was brought into the world when someone else wasn’t ready. My life was changed because someone else wasn’t ready for it. That was my mother and that is as far as that relationship goes.

You are supposed to live with your parents. At the very least, one of them. I don’t care what anybody says about that, we evolved as a species that exists from that single notion. When that doesn’t happen, it changes you. So you call someone else “Mom” if you’re lucky. Or you live with someone who can be like a “Mom” though you may never call her that.

The opinion I hold on Mom and Mothers has changed drastically. For example I don’t think that it is necessarily hard for all mothers to decide whether to give up their children for adoption, though it paints a pretty picture. The truth is, some mothers suck. Some mothers crank out children so fast, the family size box of cheerios still won’t cut it. You do not get to be a part-time parent. You do not get to leave your children in this world to look after themselves when you’re too tired or busy. I look in the faces of children who gleam of ambition and promise but are faded by the sad knowledge that they don’t have a Mom to show them that. They have a mother who made bad decisions.

Now Moms, Moms are heroes. They are the aunts, the cousins, the sisters, the neighbours who take on the role of expanding this ambition and taking a broken heart and piecing it back together. These moms are fierce, protective and would do anything to see their kids smile. They are relentless in their pursuit of parental imperfection and are never short of hugs, kisses or a shoulder to lean on.

Families come in all forms and ways. However the magnitude of a  child born to one woman, yet lays their heart and trust in another and the depth of that privilege are something that should never be lost or taken for granted. Yes, being adopted is a happy ending to a sad story but being called Mom is just as equally gratifying.

Please don’t worry Mom, I won’t be planning on turning my life into a remake of Matilda anytime soon. However I might just reconsider not being so embarrassed if I’m called that in the grocery store again.




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