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Solidarity Brothers and Sisters

Solidarity Brothers and Sisters

Other Mothers Day

Let me begin by saying I love my mother. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thank you for all these years of unconditional love, laughter, and great cooking. Your guidance and care echo in my heart every day.

Now let me continue for everybody else.

We are all mothers today.

We all mother.

Even if you are a childless man, you mother.

If you are a moody teenager, you mother.

All of us nurse, protect, cherish, and tend to the people we love in this world. At least, we should. And THAT is what this weekend is reminding us. To mother.

Sure, take your mom to brunch if that’s what she really wants. But the day is not about seafood omelets or exclusivity. Mother’s Day is about celebrating mothering. Let’s minister to the sick, defend the weak, nurture the young, the old, the rich, the poor.

In recent years, I have seen women crying on Mother’s Day, weeping openly during the “Ave Maria,” or muffling sobs in contemplative prayer. Last year, a friend told me Mother’s Day was when she missed her mom the most. Of course, it is a day to remember, reflect, and pay homage to the women who birthed us. But we need not leave it there.

Mother’s Day can also be an occasion to check ourselves. Do we mother our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers enough? Do we nourish, tend, and enrich others on this planet the way we should? The way all our mothers taught us to?

That’s right…mothers. Those who birthed us AND all those Other Mothers – the many men and women, both young and old, who held our hands and guided us along the way.

I am blessed to have many Other Mothers. I have auntie-mothers, and boss-mothers, and sister- and brother-mothers. I have a father-mother, and a grandma-mother, and a former-next-door-neighbor-mother. I have had teacher-mothers and student-mothers. I even have a husband-mother. And, of course, a mother-mother.

Let’s all be mothers today. Definitely call your mom. Give her your love. Chances are if you are close, you do this all the time anyway. But call one of your Other Mothers today, too. Don’t weep because you have lost someone. Well, you can do that, but don’t let it be the only thing you do today. Thank an Other Mother. Let that person know he/she loved you, led you, nourished you, and mothered you. And that you are always there to mother right back. Pay it forward and backward today. Let Mother’s Day heal.

Be the mother all your mothers taught you to be.

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New DadvMom on the Huffington Post today.

Solidarity Brothers and Sisters

On Veterans Day

I’m married to a veteran.

He was overseas on 9-11 and deployed repeatedly for most of the first years of our marriage. I guess that makes me a veteran of living with a veteran.

I am grateful for his sacrifices. I am grateful for the 4am flights, the all-night watches, and the Christmas he spent with his flight crew on an island in the Pacific. I am grateful for the birthdays he missed, the holidays he gave up, the discomfort he endured. I am grateful that the plane he flew always touched down, despite engine failures, lightning strikes, and radio messages from countries that threatened harm.

I am grateful that our marriage has endured throughout nearly a dozen years of comings and goings.

But I am just as grateful for the work he has done since leaving the service. He has dedicated his life to helping other veterans continue to serve others even after they leave the military.

I know a lot of civilians who are unsure how to celebrate veterans day. They might watch a parade. They curse under their breath when the bank or post office is closed. Some moms I know gathered blankets and coats to offer a local shelter.

But if I could give veterans one gift on this day, it would be to honor their strengths, not their deficits. To make sure that each and every one of them knows they are valuable RIGHT NOW.  And to remind them how much more they still have to give.dadvmom.com_veteransday_croppedweddingcarriage

Maybe the best way to honor veterans is to make sure that no one is alone today.

For any veteran transitioning from active duty to civilian life, or for anyone who seeks to support that transition, check out the following organizations.

Team Rubicon

Mission Continues

And Happy Veterans Day.

UPDATE — 11/11/2015

Listen to the Dad half of DadvMom.com talking about the importance of Veterans Day on the Diane Rehm Show today.