Out of the Mouths of Babes

Barbara Newman

What a mother makes…

A mother makes a daughter…or a son.
It starts with a cell and then two and then three….
combusting like wildfire…
making a legacy.

She makes them kind and strong,
compassionate and curious.

She hopes.

She makes a note to herself to be a good teacher,
and knows that some days she’ll fall very short.
She makes another note to not beat herself up…
which she does anyway.

She makes mistakes…
And makes herself crazy…. worried sick that she’s ruining her kids.
for life… for good… forever.
She makes peace with herself.
Love is love is love…and motherhood doesn’t come with instructions.

She makes the most of the moments.

She makes the car-ride to school mean something.
There, in the hunk of steel that holds them captive,
she makes conversation, in spite of the eyes that roll.
She makes a plan…
makes a strategy to deal with the bullies,
the friends who flip flop… giving new meaning to the phrase “loves me loves me not.”
She makes her children stand up…
and stand tall..
and advocate…
and feel that sense of self
that MAKES all the bullshit fall away.

She makes them listen to NPR.
After they grow out of Tom Chapin.

She makes the laundry bright and smell like summer…
She makes neat folded little piles at the end of the bed –
Then she makes a fuss because they leave it there,
and all that work goes to waste because it ends up on the floor.

She makes beds.
And sometimes lies in them.
The sheets of her life…. rumpled…. nothing is always smooth…

When her little ones see sprites in the water and gnomes in the trees…
She makes it real…
says it’s true
she makes sure they believe in magic..
it opens the soul to wonder.
Even hers.

She makes sure that the tooth fairy shows up, and when she forgets…
She makes up a story that it was a busy night for fairies..
and that they’ll come tomorrow…

and bring extra.

She makes up little white lies.

When her children notice that half the Halloween candy is gone…
she swears that she didn’t throw it away.
She makes a note to call the dentist.

And then makes more appointments.
With doctors and teachers and tutors and ballet schools and eventually Drivers Ed.
She makes the calendar look like the cover of a jigsaw puzzle,
One- thousand pieces fitting together just right.
It makes…
she makes..
a whole picture.
The week looks like this.
Until someone gets the stomach flu.

And then she makes them feel better…

She makes chicken soup.
And matzoh balls that were never as good as her mothers’…
They’re a little lumpy… like her legs…. because she can’t MAKE
time to exercise, work and be a mom.

She makes up with her husband… again.
Makes nice….
makes it right…
makes it work.

She makes love when she might not want to…
to keep her family whole.

She makes molehills out of mountains
And makes herself go skiing, even though her knees hurt and she can’t stand the cold.

She makes rules…
And sometimes breaks them…
because she can…
because she made them in the first place.

She makes room on her bookshelf…
and make the lives of young moms easier …
she donates The Blessing of A Skinned Knee and “How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk”.
She replaces them with “Making Hard Decisions for Your Elderly Parents,” and
“How to be 50 and Fabulous: In Spite of the Hormones that Make you Manic.”

She makes the trip into Boston
to pick up her daughter 3 weeks after the umpteenth breakup.
She doesn’t make excuses…
She doesn’t say I told you so… (even though he was an ass)
The makes a mental note: the little hurts that needed band-aids were easier.
She makes a promise to always be there…
no doubt she will be.

She makes tea.
A moment for herself to sip in some sunshine and relish, in appreciation, the photos on the fridge and the cat curled up in her lap.
She makes lemonade.
Out of lemons, showing her kids that alchemy is the mother of invention.
She makes things right when they are wrong and sunny when they’re gray.
It’s her way.

She makes memories…
Makes CERTAIN that her children know they are loved.

She makes herself stop crying
when she’s aching for a life outside the recipe box of motherhood
She makes her lips curl up in a smile..
because, that’s what mom’s do.
They make do…
They make peace.
They make sacrifices…
And when she sees through the lens of gratitude..,
She makes it all into a blessing…
That’s her secret…
It’s how she makes magic.

She makes her mark.
It’s indelible.
On the labels for camp and in the hearts of her children.

She makes a life.
Rich and woven with threads as strong as gold.
Unbreakable she hopes.
She makes promises to herself…
that no matter what…
No matter who they marry, where they live, what they choose to do with their lives…
she will make sure-
that those threads always stay knotted in connection…

She makes home.




Barbara Newman has had a long, storied career building global brands into icons of popular culture, across every platform under the sun. After writing award-winning campaigns for everything from perfume to peanut butter, she left the bright lights of Madison Avenue for brighter stars under the Berkshire sky, where she continues to freelance while developing her heart project— a documentary film about the American cowgirl. She fell in love with their stories… their ethos…their authenticity. But most of all, how their bold spirit inspires lives. She has two beautiful children who are just about out of the nest, which makes her both happy and sad.

  • Amy

    priceless. xxoo

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