Yesterday, I began telling the tale of how my mother became known as Ms. Bear. And then I realized something: With a moniker like Ms. Bear, my mom couldn’t help but pass down some of her strong, fierce traits to me.
After all, this is what has made me reach for so many things in life. In high school, I was a member of the National Honor Society, and in college, I was editor-in-chief of my school newspaper. I don’t know if I would have had the confidence to push myself if my mother hadn’t been there, cheering me on and always willing to give me a reality check if I ever got down on myself. Yes, I soon discovered my mother’s secret superpower lied in her ability to teach me about life as I was in the midst of living it. She’s sneaky like that. Mothers aren’t just people who shake a stern fist when you track clumps of mud on the porcelain-white living room carpet. And they’re not just people who lecture until their face turns a blazing red when you leave heaps of dirty clothes piled in your room. They shape who you are and they must get you ready to go out into that big world, ready to be the person you’re meant to become.
And that’s why to Janelle and me, she’ll always be Ms. Bear. Not because she’s a towering, aggressive creature. To us, she represents a larger-than-life figure, a protector who takes care of her baby cubs. When my father died, I know she not only lost her husband but her soul mate. Instead of retreating into despair, she continued to take care of us — comforting us, hugging us, being our anchor during the storm of grief. I wish all mothers knew how important they are to their children, especially their daughters. We know you’re always watching over us like a mother bear watches over her cubs.
I tell my mother, “I’m 31. I can take care of myself.” But in her sneaky, mother know-how, she’s able to see right past that. Because the truth is, I wouldn’t be who I am without my mother’s guiding hand and loving heart, wrapping me in security and peace. Every night before I go to bed, I thank my mom for everything, for all the physical help she’s given me that day. She says it’s not necessary, but I never want her to forget how much I appreciate her. And as I get older, I know the “Thanks, Mom” is about so much more than the physical assistance. Maybe that’s the beauty of it right there. Call me an idealist, but I like to think mothers pass down the best aspects of their personality to their cubs. So all you cubs, go hug your Mama Bear today. She deserves it. xoxo