Today is Mother’s Day! Hopefully by now everyone has called/texted/hugged/sent flowers to your mothers. If you haven’t, you should probably rectify that. I’ll wait here. Ready? Okay.
Here’s the thing about my mom: she’s unbelievably amazing. I’m gonna level with you all… I can be kind of a difficult daughter. I get really excited about random things, I love to talk about these random things, and it can be kind of hard to get me to shut up. I also have a penchant for calling my mother, crying, three time zones away.
I talk a lot about the “quietly feminist” media that my mother raised my sister and I on. I remember very distinctly one evening when I was in college and I started waxing on and on about the representation of women in… something. (Like I said, it can be hard to get me to shut up). My mom turned to my best friend, Elspeth, and said “I don’t know where she gets this.” Elspeth responded, “Kathi, she gets it from you.”
You see, my mother didn’t raise me to be a feminist. She raised me to be a human being. She raised me to be a woman who deserves respect, admiration, and equality. I don’t think the word “feminist” was ever expressly uttered in my household until I was in high school, but by then the seeds had been planted. It’s not that my mother thinks of “feminism” as a “dirty word” (as in “I’m not a feminist, but I believe in gender equality!”). See, my mother didn’t need to tell my sister and I to be feminists, because she lead the way through her example.
My mother loves to tell the story of the time some family friends came over for dinner. They arrived while my mom was in the kitchen and the TV was on a Patriots game. Our friend (a man), called out “Hey, Steve, what’s the score?” My mom appeared and said “oh, Steve doesn’t watch football. That’d be me.” My mother never sat me down and said “Laura, lots of people think that football is a ‘man’s sport,’ but they’re wrong because women can enjoy football too.” She just enjoyed the crap out of football.
My mother is the woman who encouraged both her daughters to become pastors (until she realized that neither of us were remotely called to be pastors), who watched Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and Star Trek: Voyager, who lead my sister’s Girl Scout Troop for over ten years. My mother always supports my sister and I–even though we’re writers, even though I went to art school, even though I moved to Chicago when I was 18 and Los Angeles when I was 23 and changed my mind eight months later.
I know everyone thinks that their mothers are the best mothers ever… but in my case it’s totally true.