Ode to mothers and to Mother (Letter #017)

Photo of baby Baobao holding Mother's Day card.

You never asked to be born

But you are why I made your mother breakfast (and supper) yesterday

My darling Baobao,

As you’ll probably know by the time you read this letter, your dad isn’t exactly enthusiastic about “commercial” holidays. I hate shopping at the best of times, and resent the pressure to buy presents, or even to choose a card. (Even so, I keep thinking that, next Christmas, we’ll take a hint from my late Uncle Marcel and make our own cards, especially since we now have such a photogenic model. But we’ll see how that goes closer to the time. And I digress …)

And yet …

Photo of baby Baobao wearing I heart Mom onesie while riding Papa Zesser's shoulders.
Baobao, wearing a daring white onesie sporting the slogan, I [Heart] Mom, sits astride Papa Zeser’s shoulders to greet her mother on Mama Raven’s Day!

And yet, where your dad cordially dislikes shopping and Occasions in nearly all their manifestations, your mother likes them — birthdays and Christmases and even (looking ahead) Fathers’ Days. (And though she’s no shopaholic, she does seem to find a hunter’s pleasure in stalking a mall in search of just the right item for this, that, or the other occasion. (We have learned that it is usually best if I don’t accompany her on these expeditions; it’s not fun for her or me when I start to get impatient with the process.))

And so, here’s a lesson I hope you’ll take to heart as you make your way through life. Relationships are never all about you; and they are never (at least, they certainly shouldn’t be!) all about the other person. No, relationships require trade-offs and compromises.

And in this case, it is I who have compromised. For instance, We took you to meet Santa Claus before Christmas and, yesterday, your mum woke up to a card and a (relatively) elaborate baked pancake breakfast — which I stupidly neglected to photograph for posterity.

At least I have this photo of you holding the Mother’s Day card, which we included with the celebration.

Photo of baby Baobao holding Mother's Day card.
Baobao holds our card for her mother.

And, if I have long appreciated all that my mother had done for me since she first pushed me out of the womb so many years ago, the truth is, I didn’t really appreciate it until I saw you emerge from between your mother’s legs almost nine months ago now.

It’s a cliche to say that a man can only be impressed by what a woman experiences and does during childbirth, but it’s a cliche because it is true. What is also true is that parenting itself — what comes after the delivery — is also one hell of a lot of work (if not quite so physically painful), and even though I am doing my share in taking care of you, I am still deeply and happily grateful for all that your mum has been and is doing for you!

Not that it is a surprise to me, but it deserves to be said: Your mother has been a fantastic mother to you so far, and I am happy to bend with the prevailing winds and wish her a happy Mother’s Day from both of us!

Now to look forward to Father’s Day …

Love always,

Papa Z

P.S. Mama Raven has kindly given her permission for me to post that rarest of rare Papa Zesser treasures: a photograph of her!

Photo of Mama Raven holding baby Baobao, Mama's face obscured.
Well, it’s sort of a photo of your mom!

Hi there! Since you’ve been reading my daughter’s mail, if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to …

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