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  • Writer's picturedennisharris04

Mother’s Day Is About More Than Just My Mom


Mother’s day is about more than just my mom, but it took some serious exploration on my part, inspired by my wife giving birth to our sons. I should explain why I needed that journey before I talk about my discoveries. When my mom passed away just before her fortieth birthday, it left me with a lot of mixed emotions. My relationship with her, in the end, was somewhat strained because of her life choices and the state that they left me and my siblings. I did have some great memories of being at the beach with her and other sporadic moments that were truly good. The anger I had for the life she left behind took me years to deal with and the idea of mothers day took a back seat until it faded into a day others celebrated.


Years later I got married and my wife became a mother to our two great boys, and I needed to start looking at the day differently. My wife is a fantastic mother and it is fair that she be able to celebrate with our boys, and I wanted to enjoy it with all of them. I needed to look at it from the aspect of how my boys and wife saw the day.


There is an amazing change when a woman embraces becoming a mother, it is almost like the good parts of their personality become magnified. It is like their purpose gets an amazing life boost with boundless positive energy. I was fortunate enough to witness that grow every day firsthand, watching my wife with our boys.

Although some women never embrace the gift of motherhood, and never become the kind of mother a child needs sadly, I would prefer to embrace the positive. I am not going to spend much time on those women, this is a celebration of the mothers that do their best to leave their stamp on society. I watched my wife turn into a great mother to the point that if something happened to me or if I had to go away to work, I knew our boys would be well taken care of. She was battled tested for eight months while I was away working and trying to find a new home for us. I’m thankful I realized the importance when our kids were born by trying to realize that Mother’s day was more than the relationship between me and my mother, it was about motherhood…


I started thinking about all the mothers that have touched my life in some way and I realized that there is something more to being a mother. There is a way of being when it comes to being a mom, it spills over into not just looking out for your children, for all of them. It is about family, community, and making sure that harmony was sought and protected in both. A good mother protects her own with the ferocity of a Viking Shield Maiden, channels her inner nurse, inner counselor, and does it all sometimes with a delicate touch to find that harmony that brings it all together. All those traits tend to make perfect sense when I start going through some of the lists of mothers that have left me with the kind of feeling that moves your soul.

First would have to be my grandmother and all the times I felt the comfort she brought me in my early childhood, those memories still bring comfort when I think back. My grandmother has that old world kind of comfort you associate with like coming in from a freezing rainy day to the smell of a hearty Clam Chowder, a warm fire, and her smiling face waiting with a blanket. I also remember visiting my step-father’s Oma when she was living in a retirement community and going over to visit and learning a little German. I still try to use language apps to carry on a little German, it is a good way to look back on our time fondly. I made those visits on my own because I loved sitting with her and listening to her stories. I remember her talking about escaping Germany during the Second World War and how she would go somewhere else a little when sharing what she experienced. I also remember all of that melting away when she started talking about kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. You could tell that there was nothing dark enough to take away from the joy they brought her. I enjoyed those visits and I was a teenager at the time. There is something amazing about listening to a grandmother talk and share the adventures of raising a family. Grandmother’s always come around to bringing the light to the surface no matter how dark things may seem.


After years of watching my family slip away, it was interesting to take part in my wife’s family get-togethers because of the size of the gatherings. Again, the highlight for me was sitting and talking with her Nonna and listening to stories of how she brought her four kids over to Canada on a boat to rejoin her husband who was already here working. Mothers that are committed to family, become grandmothers and never miss a beat when it comes to taking care of family over generations, and truly knowing how to make you feel comfortable and like your time with them is important. The above are examples of three different grandmas, from three completely different backgrounds who all had the same love of being a mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I always felt good after spending time with them and realized that they were the glue that held their families together.


I can’t just stop and think of grandmothers and moms from my family when looking at the big picture of motherhood. I have to start remembering other moms that have touched my life. A close friend of mine has become like a brother, so as you can imagine I spent some time with his family. His mom always made me feel welcome, was quick to make up some sandwiches, and treated me like I was another one of her boys. I remember when I got engaged, my friend's dad probably breathed a sigh of relief because I’m pretty sure there was a time he had consigned himself to the fact his son and I should just buy dogs. I think his mom expected that all along, as much as told me so once and a while, even though I denied it. She and her husband even stopped into the store where my wife was working to say hi and spend time with her one day. My wife still remembers that fondly to this day. Once she realized the friendship that her son and I had there was interest in getting to know me. Both his parents took and still take a genuine interest in my life and how things are going.


There is something amazing when you step outside of what you have lost, or what wasn’t there, to begin with, and realize that there are people who care about more than just what is going on in their lives. These mothers and grandmothers made me realize that motherhood is so much bigger than the mom that you were given. They served as examples of what I didn't have in my house, but it certainly didn’t feel that way when I shared time with them. It set in motion how I pictured whoever I married, if at all reflecting back, might be with my children.

Those are all good examples of what Mother’s Day should mean, but I am also taken back by the examples I didn’t expect to encounter. Those came from the years of coaching where a parent would always be late picking up at some point during the week. Some of those kids would come from broken marriages, and there would be a breakdown in communication on whose night it was to pick up the kid. I always stayed with those players no matter how late, but there were one or two mothers from the team that would wait with me. One in particular usually served as the team mom and knew something about each player. When my youngest boy was starting out, he was shy and she always made a point of coming over and making him feel welcome. She genuinely cares about not just her own four kids, but all of the kids.


There seem to be varied examples that have come into my life on some level, that examples of good mothers. When I stop to think, those examples have become easier to see over the years as I look at motherhood differently. The things that I saw from mothers that were not great examples, there are amazing examples of moms that have transcended those circumstances. My wife’s good friend became a single mother that had no help from her ex-husband. No support from him, or very little, with three growing boys, and while some would have turtled and looked for the next man to serve as a meal ticket, she did not! Instead, built a very successful business that afforded her more than just a very comfortable living, while still being there for her boys, and moved her mom in too because she is getting older. That is the complete opposite of what I saw growing up at my house and in my neighborhood. The very embodiment of what motherhood should be, taking care of her own, while giving back.


It wouldn’t be a true Mother’s Day blog if I didn’t mention my wife in a little more detail than at the start of this. I watched my wife grow from a young woman into the mother of our fast-growing, high-energy boys. All the examples that I have written about so far would not have done enough for me to fully embrace Mother’s Day again. It took watching my wife embrace her gift and watching how she turned our little life into a family. The effort she makes with all of us, not only gave our boys a great home, it is the first time in my life I can say I have a home. Watching how she embraces our life gave me first-hand faith again in what a mom could be. The true test in life to be good at something is consistently doing it while others look on. It isn’t once a while, and I have watched my wife do it for a decade and a half now. She works every day in our home to find the harmony between three very strong male personalities that do not always jive. She knows when my boys are pushing me too far, but also reminds me when I could have a delicate touch. Over the years she and I have spent our time raising boys and dogs all the while trying to ensure they all had the best life we could give them. Some families have help from extended families like grandmothers or aunts, but we had little to no help from our family over all those years. When I was working crazy hours, getting up in the middle of the night, or away, a lot of our family duties fell on my wife, and she didn’t miss a beat. Nobody does it better!


All those great examples of motherhood are fantastic, but it wouldn’t be a complete blog without mentioning a little of the other side of moms. We have all been on the receiving end of a mother rolling her eyes, a furrowed brow, and downright pissed-off frustration or even anger. You know the times when you ruin your best school clothes doing something you were told not to do? You come in bloody and muddy, mom gives you hell while she cleans you up and makes sure you are alright at the same time. How about dating in high school and she hears you talking badly to your girlfriend? That was never a pleasant conversation with mom or grandma, but it taught me a lot. How about when you are a little older and you find a woman or man that your mom loves? Then that relationship doesn’t last and is usually followed by a solid lecture from mom. The point is we have been on the receiving end of the wrong side mom, grandma, and usually in the spirit of motherhood. Sometimes those moments seem a little too much and even border on overstepping boundaries. The thing is that even when it seems mom may be getting on your last nerve, it is because she cares and wants to see the best for you. It is worth it to experience a mom that is embracing her gift, no matter who’s mom it is. I have been fortunate to experience the examples I have had considering it was a bit of a road back for me on how I looked at Mother’s Day. I think we should be appreciative every day if we have examples like I have mentioned that make life better. If you have trouble stopping to smell the roses, or just slowing down it is good to set aside a day to celebrate the mothers in your life that are important.


We all know a grandmother, mother, sister, aunt, or cousin that are great moms, that are embracing motherhood, so take the time to wish them happy Mother’s Day!


To all the mothers that have touched my life both that have passed and that are still here, Thank you! To all the mothers out there that embrace or are trying to embrace the things I mentioned, you are appreciated!


Happy Mother’s Day!












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