Saturday, January 10, 2009

Occupation: Mother

The following is a speech I made at my son Dakota's christening in 1999. It was Labor Day Weekend and the pastor asked several people to talk about their professions. Among the executive, the fireman, the accountant, there I was with leaking breasts and spit up on my shoulder. Though I am terrified to speak in public, I was proud to do it on such a special day for our family. Through streaming tears and shaking hands, this is what I said:

When I filled out my son Dakota’s information sheet at his first pediatrician’s visit, beside the words “Mother’s Occupation” I carefully printed “M-o-t-h-e-r” without a moment’s thought. The Doctor, upon reviewing our records, commented that “at-home-moms” usually write N/A or the word “none” in that space and that I was the first to write “Mother.”

What more of a nobler and prestigious profession is there other than Mother? Without Mothers, none of you would be here. There would be no Abraham Lincoln, no Mother Theresa, no Frank Sinatra, and no Pastor Linda. Every world or religious leader has a mother. Every policeman, actor, teacher, CEO, nurse has a mother.

Each day I look at my son’s hands and think of how much potential they possess. I watch him learning how they work, how he can hold things and manipulate toys. Each day I tell him that he will do great things with those hands—wonderful, beautiful things. He can bring peace with those hands, write the next best novel of his time, hold his baby with those hands—and if my husband has anything to do with it, be the next Tiger Woods.

In Gensis 1:26, God says, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” A perfect job for a little boy don’t you think? Like God in many ways “Dakota, has the whole world in his hands”—the power to create and destroy, the power to love and nurture. And I, his mother, with the hand and grace of God, am there to help guide and direct those little fingers to greatness.

So for me, my boardroom is the nursery, my bargaining table is the changing table. I negotiate nap times, schedule feedings, and stock up on diapers. I’m honored to have the profession of Mother.

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