A Letter To Mothers Everywhere

Dear Mom,

Thank you for getting frustrated with us.

We know we pushed you to the brink of sanity. We bickered and picked on each other and tattled and didn’t wash our dishes in the sink. We’d let our energy boil up and pester you until you’d scream for us to get our butts outside. Since our go-to solution would have been to waste a few hours watching reruns of Wonder Woman or the Dukes of Hazard, it always felt like a punishment when were banished outside for being too rambunctious.

It’s ironic that it felt like playing outside was a punishment because we willingly spent most of our waking hours playing outside anyway. Nine times out of 10 it was our preference to make up outdoor games, ride bikes, hike on the hill behind our house, play in the waves until we were sunburned, or plan our next adventure. You encouraged our love of the outdoors by example. Our vacations were spent camping, backpacking, and on marathon road trips to remote places that covered too many miles in too few days and, of course, included stops at every historic marker.

But in those times at home when we pushed your buttons hard enough to get booted from the house, we knew we were in trouble and our banishment outside would always start with a little quiet time. For this, we thank you.

Photo: Brooke Sutton and her mom

Those quiet times of being outside and having nothing but the wonder of the world and a little imagination have been more influential than all of the big trips, long bike rides and summited peaks combined. When not distracted by the big things, there’s room to appreciate the pieces that make the whole: the smallest flower, the singing bird, the jittery, inquisitive chipmunk, the slightest breeze blowing through the spring lilacs. There’s room to be present.

To all moms who sent their misbehaving kids outside, instead of to their rooms: thank you. You gave us the opportunity to know the wonder of the natural world through the raucous fun of a killer single track and through the still moments of watching clouds move across the sky.

Happy Mother’s Day.