There are always cynics among us: Mother’s Day is just a made up holiday with lots of marketing behind it. But you know what? I’ll take any excuse to celebrate motherhood. And fatherhood, and auntie-hood, sisterhood and parenthood.
Because it takes a lot of work: all the learning and thinking, the protecting and planning and fighting for the next generation of humanity. All the responsibility in our hands, each and every day.
Maybe it is one of those karmic coincidences, that the marketing gods in our midst have also declared May, the month of mothers, to be May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Judging by the statistics and stories coming out, and by our own personal experiences, this is not a particularly easy time to maintain mental health.
So many of us are feeling that the world is in a difficult place. And it is. As it has been and shall forever be, undoubtedly. Because that is simply the nature of the world, and of humanity in it.
One of the things that is particularly troublesome now is that, in the face of several of our largest problems, we know what to do to solve them. Solutions exist. But we just don’t seem to be able to muster the collective will, the focus to apply the solutions. That can leave us feeling … depressed. Angry. Helpless. Even hopeless.
Each of us carves her own path out of the darker times. For me, it involves remaining a mother, even as my children are grown and gone away and becoming parents themselves.
A mother protects her children. Fights for what’s fair and right. Doesn’t give up. And no matter how exhausted she might feel, a mother has to show up, day after day, year after year, just to do a good enough job to push those chicks out of the nest safely and then keep that air they fly through as clean and healthy as possible.
My work with Moms Clean Air Force is entirely aimed at stopping a very big problem: global warming. My work is my way of committing to hope. To channeling my anger (at all the refuseniks and deniers and liars and cynics) and anxiety (from all the dire warnings of scientists — and the weather itself with its historic upheavals) and admiration (for all the brilliant ideas) and excitement (at how much we are actually getting done — not enough yet, but we’re moving!).
My work with all of you — the moms who show up, every single day, to testify before Congress or in EPA hearings, or to meet with mayors, or to organize cafecitos — that work is the work of caring, and of love. It is the work of healing. And the work of giving new birth, to new possibility, and to a better world.
That’s what we all want, and so in honor of all of you: Happy Mother’s Day.