I don't post personal stories on here very often.
I know it may seem like you've had some small glimpse into my life through my kitchen, but the fact of the matter is cooking is only a small part of who I am.
I have been many things in my life.
And two years ago I became a mother.
The job comes with a magnitude of responsibility. Not only does someone's life now hang in the balance of your everyday care and attention, but so too does their future. Who will this teeny, tiny person become, and how does his mother play a part in that?
I've seen this go many different directions.
I've seen kids from happy homes, who had everything given to them in life grow up absolutely miserable. I've also seen those kids grow up happy and successful.
I've seen kids from broken homes who had to fight for survival become doctors, lawyers and respectable citizens. I've also seen those kids end up in jail, or worse…
I grew up in a small, but rough, town in New Mexico. I grew up amongst reservation kids, gangs, drugs, sex and everything in between. I had friends who got pregnant at the age of 13, joined gangs at the age of 14 and died at the age of 15. I've also had friends who went on the get their Ph.D.s from Ivy League schools, become Hollywood actors and political figures.
What's the difference?
Who determines how our lives are shaped?
My dad is/was a doctor and my mother is/was a stay at home mom, they both valued education above everything else. Mom pushed me. Hard. I wasn't allowed to fall victim to my surroundings or my privileges. Going to college wasn't a question of "if" it was a question of "where."
Let me clarify. I love New Mexico. I love the person it made me. I love that I grew up where being white made me a minority. I love that I learned how to speak Spanish at a young age. I love that I learned to say no to drugs before I learned long division. I love the mountains. I love the light. I love the people and their strength.
Life in a reservation town is hard on the kids who grow up there. I think that's how CoffeeMaker and I have managed to hold onto each other as long as we have. We found each other in high school. We were young, optimistic and both wanted a life beyond what was expected of us. We've been exploring that life together now for 17 years and we wouldn't change a thing.
It's who we are.
But this post is about Mother's Day.
So much of what I read on a daily basis is a running commentary on moms being concerned about their kids eating habits, what's lurking in secret sunscreen ingredients and who is bullying who at school. I guess it's a privilege when you get to worry about these things rather than drugs, teen pregnancy and gang violence. I'm lucky because today, as a mother, I find myself worrying more about the former rather than the latter. But I'm reminded of the fears my mother must have faced every day while I was growing up. When another kid at school was knifed, shot or killed in a car accident after driving drunk.
I can't imagine how relieved my mother must have been just to see me walk in the door at the end of the day. I don't suppose she cared if I was carrying a giant bag of processed food or not.
I'm not criticizing anyone's platform here. Trust me, I'm a fan of organic food too and I keep my kid away from as much yellow dye as possible. I also make him wear SPF 50+ when he plays outside.
As mothers we want to protect our children from so many things that can harm them.
But today, on the day after I was spoiled with pancakes and told what an amazing mother I am and how I'm doing so many things right, I can't help but give a giant virtual hug to those mothers who fought against the odds where I grew up.
The mothers who raised children to believe in more.
The mothers who raised children on unconditional love.
The mothers who were armed to handle every threat that came our way.
The mothers who taught us how to fight for what we want.
The mothers who raised their children to become parents who will have to worry about processed food and sunscreen.
To all those mommas, and mine, you are warriors and your children thank you.