Mother's Day Meditation

by francine Hardaway on May 13, 2007

It’s 6:30 AM on Mother’s Day, and I am in bed with a dog. His name is Chauncey, he’s a golden retriever, and he’s five. Under the bed is a year-old golden puppy, named Luckily, called Buppily Boo. He sleeps right UNDER me because Chauncey owns the spot on the bed next to me. Thank goodness he’s still asleep. Last night he ate a hair clip, the last in a long line of plastics (blue tooth head sets, ball point pens, underwater MP3 player) on which he has cut his teeth. My business partner calls me Puppy Mom.

But I also have two birth children, three adult foster children with whom I’m still close, five stepchildren from two marriages, and 10.5 stepgrandchildren from those children (Scotty’s wife is pregnant). It’s a large, wonderful extended family, stretched from coast to coast and even into Europe.

I also “look after” an entrepreneurial community in Phoenix for which I am the business mom. Every day I meet someone with an idea, usually a good one, and a need for resources to get from the idea, to the product, to the business, to the company. My role is the same as it is with the kids: give advice, provide encouragement, contribute experience, and hold my breath that the results won’t disappoint them. I cheer on entire families of young people trying to accomplish something, whether it’s learning to walk or learning to fly, bringing something new to market or selling to Google.

This is a great life! The role of a mother, which used to be a background character, seems to have become more central as life has become more complex. Not that my own mother stayed in the kitchen; she hung out in jazz joints and casinos with my dad in his career as a theatrical lawyer in New York City and as an agent for entertainers in the glory (read criminal) days of Las Vegas.

Her job, in addition to encouraging my brother and me to get our educations, was to preside over a group of errant musicians, often drug addicted, and save my father from their problems. As a child, I remember my mother refusing to move us to Hollywood, because she thought we wouldn’t grow up to be “normal” if we lived around all those movie people. She also wouldn’t let me go to a special elementary school for smart kids because she thought I wouldn’t be”normal.” Her goal was to make us live as normal a life as we could, given my father’s closeness to theatrics. She lost. I’m not normal. But she gave it a heroic try.

So she was the director of our family, even though my father was the colorful figure. Me, I got both halves of the gene pool: the mother stuff and the color. That was the part she couldn’t control — the DNA.

For a while there, in the 70s, there wasn’t much dignity in being a mom. We all wanted to be professionals, workers, male equivalents. Three decades later, women seem to have rediscovered the joy of motherhood, although it has certainly been transformed.

This is a good thing. I hate to think what my life would have been like if I had not gotten pregnant accidentally in 1971 with Samantha. I hadn’t been planning to have children, and I didn’t feel like I needed motherhood to make me complete.

But it has. There’s nothing better than being a mom, a business mom, even a Puppy Mom.

Off to the dog park. No dog in history has ever made its mother breakfast in bed.

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