whack-a-mole ~ a tribute to mothers


Modern Family.  I watch it in tears, laughing until my sides aches, shaking my head at the way so much familiarity is put concisely into 22 minutes of what ends up feeling like a core workout.  This past week, Claire confessed, OUT LOUD, that not only did she harbor occasional thoughts of wanting to punch her children, she envisioned them all falling over like dominoes.

I’ve always loved her, but at that moment, I really identified with her.  I’ve had the same vision.  (Gasp!)

Only in our house it’s called the Whack-a-Mole vision.  You know, the arcade game where you whack down the head of one mole only to have another pop up and before you know it you are viciously beating on a table, all the while knowing that you are never going to win?  My vision is like that in that I can feel the handle and see the broad, cushioned paddle.  I concentrate.  I aim. I let my arm fly forward and as soon as I knock one out (one=child), another one pops up.  Over. And over.  It never ends.  And their faces, their cherubic little faces, laugh.  They point.  They coyly dare me to try again…their sweet, taunting voices exude words that sound like:

“Hey Mooommm!!!!  Over here.  Keep trying mom.  Come on, take aim again.  You’re so going to lose but we love your spirit.  Ouch!  Nah, just kidding.  Seriously, is that all you’ve got?  Really???” (Cue the incessant laughter…)

But the vision is more than my frustration.  It’s a message.  Translated, it is unquestionably everything that they really want to say to me but can’t.  Their still young.  They don’t really know they adore me this way.  But I do.


Over here.  Keep trying mom.  Don’t give up on us.  We know that you get frustrated, particularly when you start counting how many times we call for you in ten minutes.  We love that you’re not perfect; the stained, dirty workout shirts you wear to school when you drop us off every morning because the laundry didn’t get done kind of gives it away.  We love that you take chances; like those 1600 mile road trips when you’re driving alone with four kids, not just three.  We love that you fail.  Everyday something goes wrong (well, a lot usually goes wrong), and you get angry because your plan didn’t work.  But, you plan some more.  You create a scenario of expectation for the next time.  You always try again.  Thank you for teaching us how to persevere.

Come on, take aim again.  We’ve watched you stand up for yourself.  Defend yourself.  Believe in yourself.  We know that you want us to do the same.  We are learning that it is hard to be true to oneself, that it is easier to succumb to the expectations of others.  But you want us to be confident; to turn the other cheek, to not back down.  Thank you for raising us to be strong-willed, independent and stubborn.

You’re so going to lose but we love your spirit.  We are growing up (faster than you’d like some days) and sooner than later we are leaving.  You are raising us to take on the world, to find a place that we belong outside of the home you’ve created.  You are going to feel like you’ve lost when we leave.  You are going to wonder if we will be ok.  You may wonder if you’ll ever be the same.  But we will never see your fear or your uncertainty.  We will never know how much you long for us to stay close because you’ll never give it away.  Your spirit of wanting more for us, of being happy for us, of believing in us is all we’ve ever known.  Thank you for loving us enough to let us go.

Ouch!  Nah, just kidding.  We’ve blamed you.  We’ve found fault in you.  You’ve ruined everything at some point in time.   We want you to trust us and we are so quick to interpret your decisions as punishment.  Please don’t listen when we tell you how awful you are.  We’d never really want you to go; we’d never really want to be without you.  Thank you for understanding us, for giving us space and time, for taking us back.

Seriously, is that all you’ve got?  Really?  Eventually we will need you.   Undoubtedly you’ll be there, a quiet, understated presence.  But we know there is more. Certainly you are anxious to jump back in and love us, but you hold back and let us ask for it.  You create a way for us to need you.  Thank you for letting us ask for you.

And the incessant laughter?  Seriously, can you blame us?


So, if I may suggest this, let my new-found understanding guide you too. This is what your kids are saying to you. The next time you have a moment of clarity so honest it feels wrong, please know that your kids are really, really trying to tell you something.

From them to you.  From me to you.  Happy Mother’s Day.


2 Responses to “whack-a-mole ~ a tribute to mothers”

  1. 1 Jen

    So glad you are writing your blog again – you are such an amazing writer! Keep it up – it makes me happy to read it. 🙂

  2. 2 Jenise

    Thanks again Amy.

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