Because I'm the Mom

How mothering pervades all relationships in life.

47 Attributes of A Midlife Mom's BFF on Her Birthday

The one who gets you through it all
  • 1. She shows up.
  • 2. She is excellent in a crisis.
  • 3. Despite often thrumming with anxiety about her own life, she offers deep calm in yours.
  • 4. She does lifecycle events like nobody else:
  • 5. She makes the most creative, poignant 10-goodie bags for you to open – one each day – if you ever drive across the country on a horrifying family vacation. This means that each morning you have five minutes of guaranteed joy because she packed you a handmade craft for every damn day, wrapped them gently, placed them carefully into a paper bag and sent you on your way.
  • 6. She will send you a poem for every single day of the last month of your pregnancy. Who does that?
  • 7. She is a magnificent teacher.
  • 8. She has excellent taste in husbands.
  • 9. She has excellent taste in spiritual quests.
  • 10. She is a visionary director of everything – theater, birthday teas.
  • 11. She will give you a Macy’s Day Birthday Parade of your best qualities, complete with a full orchestra of percussive squash – just because you asked.
  • 12. She seeks.
  • 13. She and her family are the loveliest folks to spend time with.
  • 14. No matter the dire circumstance, she will always make time to note if you are wearing an excellent outfit.
  • 15. Her home is always beautiful, comforting, cozy, inviting, stunningly appointed and full of love.
  • 16. She is a thoughtful, loving, searching, loyal, empathic mother and life partner.
  • 17. She is super fun to go on walks with because she points out the Japanese Maple trees and various flora with a deep sense of being present and grateful. She learned this from her mother.
  • 18. It’s okay that she’s controlling because she’s always right.
  • 19. She is an active, deep listener.
  • 20. Her mind and advice are sharp and loving.
  • 21. She does not judge; despite a person’s best efforts to make her.
  • 22. She does not judge terribly judgmental friends.
  • 23. She shares well.
  • 24. She appreciates her family and friends and shares her appreciation through multi-formatted writing and crafts.
  • 25. If you’ve known her long enough, I mean really, really long enough, she’ll preface saucy observation with: “Well, I remember sitting back stage with you in high school and you said the very same thing.”
  • 26. She is saucy.
  • 27. She knows how to celebrate.
  • 28. She is a seeker.
  • 29. Being around her - especially if you’re sitting on her couch but not necessary for this point – is incredibly comforting.
  • 30. She’s always got some fabulous show you can go see.
  • 31. She always comps your tickets.
  • 32. She is not above the gory details – though she comports herself as if she were.
  • 33. She does not take for granted.
  • 34. She will gently remind you of your truth.
  • 35. She remembers a lot.
  • 36. She forgets just enough.
  • 37. She is forgiving.
  • 38. She wants you to know her even though that’s hard for her.
  • 39. She always has the best names for phases in one’s life like: “Oh, that was from your black jewelry suicide everything-must-go period.”
  • 40. She tells you the truth.
  • 41. She is a true leader.
  • 42. She gives back to her community in the most practical, loving, generous ways. She combines events of art, community and social justice. Who does that?
  • 43. She is a connector – of ideas, of lives, of people, of worlds.
  • 44. She does all kinda cool stuff with her hair. (Remember the Billy Idol phase at her wedding?)
  • 45. If you could only pick one person, you’d be very, very wise and lucky to pick her.
  • 46. Talking to her makes you feel like you are never alone in the world.
  • 47. She literally took the shirt off her back and gave it to me because I said I loved it so much and wished it were mine. And then she drove home.

Pamela Cytrynbaum teaches at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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