In the best and worst, Mom matters

Benjamin Chase of the Plainsman
Posted 5/12/23

In this From the Mound, the writer acknowledges the good and bad around Mother's Day

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In the best and worst, Mom matters


“Bursting with empathy, I’m feeling everything
The weight of the world on my shoulders
Hope my tears don’t freak you out
They’re just kinda coming out
It’s the music in me and all the colors”
“Mother” — Kacey Musgraves

A song that lasts only one minute, 18 seconds, “Mother” is not your typical tribute song, but Kacey Musgraves is anything but your typical artist.

Her music has challenged typical country music stereotypes on acceptance of all people, blind acceptance of religious doctrine, and even overreaching laws regarding recreational drug use.

While she swears that the song was “ready to come pouring out” of her in interviews, Musgraves admits that to finally put the song to paper, she was inspired while taking acid.

That knowledge may shed different thoughts on some of the lyrics, such as “feeling everything” and “all the colors.”

The song never charted, in large part because it’s too short to be a single, but it remains among Musgraves most-viewed videos on YouTube. Take a moment to go watch it and you’ll see why.

Sunday we honor mothers, and while typically the day is met with strong emotion and tenderness that is often absent from Father’s Day, it’s not the same response for everyone.

When the May derecho came last year (a year ago this past Friday!), we had our children, our dogs, and two other families huddled in our small basement bathroom. The children from all three families gathered were not seeking comfort in that emergency situation from their father - they wanted Mom’s reassurance, care, and arms to hold them.

Raising four children who were adopted through foster care, the subject of mother is a difficult one.

Interestingly, all four of our children had little to no relationship with a biological father before we first fostered, then adopted them.

All had some level of relationship with their biological mother.

We have been honest about our children’s status throughout their lives, so they all know they are adopted and have been informed, as much as we know, about who their biological parents are/were.

That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been emotions that pop up as our children begin to reach puberty and buck back against discipline that is received.

“You’re not my REAL mom” has been said more than once in our home. Those who have never been involved in foster or adoptive care may find that comment shocking, but giving a child of foster/adoptive background room to work through those emotions and the support to do so in a healthy way is something that we knew would be part of the package as we went through the process.

My role often times has been a shoulder or a sounding board for my amazing wife as, although we knew what struggles would come during child raising, the words can often still sting in the moment.

Governor Kristi Noem has named May as Foster Parent Appreciation Month. It’s more than fitting that Mother’s Day falls in the midst of the month of appreciation.

My children love us both, but when they need advice on something - from folding clothes to choosing an outfit to dealing with a fractured relationship with a schoolmate, they go first to my wife.

She would likely be the first to say that I’ve a better fashion eye and certainly am more particular and precise with folding clothes, but their first choice is almost universally Mom.

Along the way in our foster/adoptive parenting journey, we’ve experienced hosts of different inputs from mothers in our friendship circle, in foster parenting circles, mental health professionals, and even our own mothers and grandmothers.

Certainly, it’s brought me to respect the sacrifices and hard work that went into raising four boys for my mother.

Our relationship is certainly different now as an adult, but she’s still there for advice and an ear often as we traverse the challenges of parenting - even if sometimes she does toss back, “Now you understand!”

The day is tough for those who no longer have their mother present or that had a very tough or difficult relationship with their mother.

Oddly, that thought goes in to how we portray Father’s Day, but often not as much during Mother’s Day.

Heck, there are many mothers who struggle with their own self worth - even on a day dedicated to honoring them.

So, while today can often be a day for flowers or a special dinner out, remember those who struggle with the day due to a rough relationship with their mother or who struggle to find value in their own role as a mother.

When the storms of life come, we all reach out for our mother, and building up those who bravely take on the role (whether through birth or through choice) should be something we do every day, not just one day each year.