Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Mother’s Day column

Note: This column appears in the 5/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/11 issue of the Peoria Times.

Although she is the most strong-willed person I have ever met, there are a few things that scare my wife. Birds, for example. Also, scary movies. Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds—although it strangely played no role in developing her fear of either medium—is, for her, the world’s single worst manmade creation. Another thing that scared her for a while, and sort of still does: motherhood.

One of the many things I’ve always admired about my wife is that she has high standards. (Here I could insert a self-deprecating joke about how she relented on those standards regarding her husband, but that would be boring and predictable. Besides, I think I’m a decent guy. There, I said it.) She expects the best from everyone, and I would venture to say that 99 percent of her disappointments occur when the thoughtfulness she has for others is not reciprocated.

She holds herself to those same standards. She wanted to become a foster and adoptive parent because she knew it was the right thing to do, and she inspired me to feel the same. Throughout the process of becoming such, and during the process of being such, I always sensed in her that self-doubt of, “Am I doing this right?” 

There is the perpetual guilt of being a working mom, and sharing that guilt with many other moms seems to offer little solace. There is the reality of having a job whereby other parents often seek her advice, and trying not to be a hypocrite. There is the harsh irony of raising a girl as strong-willed as her, and stressing about the many battles the future will undoubtedly bring. 

I try to tell her not to worry, and I try to confirm for her what an amazing job she’s doing. She appreciates it, but I know she doesn’t always believe it. So I’ll just tell you guys, if you even care. The fact of the matter is that she’s pretty much the best. She runs things, but with the warmest of hearts. I am convinced she was commissioned by God Himself to raise our daughter and to hoist me up, because no one else could possibly do it. To answer her nagging question, she is doing it right, better than I ever could have imagined.

Last weekend, I discovered two bird’s nests—one in our lemon tree and one in the wreath that hangs on our front door. In past springs, when I’ve had to tell my wife I found a bird’s nest, she would just demand I destroy it, no questions asked. But these nests already have eggs. Plus our daughter discovered them and is very intrigued. It’s funny to watch our daughter carefully approach the bird’s nest in the tree while my wife looks on bravely, wincing, watching her fears face off.

Of course, we literally cannot use our front door until the baby birds leave the nest, because if a bird ever flew into our house, we’d have to sell the house as is and move immediately. I can’t argue. I’m a decent guy.

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