One of my favorite refrigerator magnets depicts a 1950s mom surrounded by her three kids. It says, “You can’t scare me, I have children.” As if kids were bags of snakes, and moms were their wranglers.
Mothers know it’s not the snakes that are scary—it’s what’s outside the bags.
The moment my firstborn was placed in my arms, I knew, with big-bang speed and enormity, that I had never experienced true vulnerability until then. I knew, without doubt or exception, that nothing could possibly hurt me as much as the tiniest hurt to my child. I was terrified.
So what do you do? The only thing you can do—put one foot in front of the other, get on with life. Maybe have more kids. Crazy, huh? And you face the monsters, real and potential, with eyes and heart open wide. No mere mortal can scare you because you’ve already had the “scared” scared out of you.
It’s only later you realize that you are strong and brave, and that you adore your job. So on Mother’s Day, especially, go ahead and toot your own horn! Celebrate yourself and remind the kids of what you do best—love them fearlessly. Here are some recommended titles new and old. Tissues optional.
“Amazing Moms: Love and Lessons
From the Animal Kingdom”
Written and compiled by Rachel Buchholz.
Photographs by NatGeo photographers.
All ages. Who isn’t a sucker for photos of animal moms and babies? This National Geographic collection of loving quotations, animal-mothering vignettes and absolutely adorable pictures is informative and endearing.
Written by Victoria Chang.
Illustrated by Marla Frazee.
Ages 2 to 5. This wicked charmer is good to pull out when little ones let you know you aren’t perfect. One by one, a group of kids yell out complaints against Mom. Frustrations rush out, laughter rushes in. Sly, simple drawings in what looks like tempera.
“The Runaway Bunny”
Written by Margaret Wise Brown.
Illustrated by Clement Hurd.
Ages 3 to 8. The classic tale of a rebellious child and a loving, steadfast mother.
“Wherever You Are,
My Love Will Find You”
Written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman.
Ages 3 to 8. Gorgeous, haunting pictures show a child having adventures with many different animal friends in many settings — all while being followed by the sparkle of mother’s love. The text is in reassuring rhyming couplets.
“Some Things Go Together”
Written by Charlotte Zolotow.
Illustrated by Karen Gundersheimer.
Ages 2 to 5. Another classic. A small boy learns about what belongs together — most important, mother and son.
“Love You Forever”
Written by Robert Munsch.
Illustrated by Sheila McGraw.
Ages 4 and older. A touching story of a mother’s lifelong love and devotion and their rewards.