She always did like tales of adventure-stories full of brightness and darkness. She could tell you the names of all King Arthur’s knights, and she knew everything about Beowulf and Grendel, the ancient gods and the not-quite-so-ancient heroes. She liked pirate stories, too, but most of all she loved books that had at least a knight or a dragon or a fairy in them. She was always on the dragon’s side by the way.

My mother always wanted to live near the water,” she said. “She said it’s the one thing that brings us all together. That I can have my toe in the ocean off the coast of Maine, and a girl my age can have her toe in the ocean off the coast of Africa, and we would be touching. On opposite sides of the world.

See that’s where you’re wrong baby. When you find your man, it’s almost too easy. Gettin’ married and haven’ a mortgage, kids and a business to run and findin’ a way to stay in love day in day out, that’s the tougher part. But the beginning’… that parts easy as pie. That’s why they call it fallen’ because it happens before you have time to stop yourself.

Thank you, Mom, for the way you managed yourself during the childish, mean, selfish, insensitive, irresponsible, unreasonable, hateful moments I put you through. From your example I learned to be patient, positive, kind, selfless, sympathetic, reliable, sensible, and loving. You have my endless appreciation.

The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to respect the woman that gave birth to his children. It is because of her that you have the greatest treasures in your life. You may have moved on, but your children have not. If you can’t be her soulmate, then at least be thoughtful. Whom your children love should always be someone that you acknowledge with kindness. Your children notice everything and will follow your example.

Being a mother is not about ‘birthing a child into the world.’ Rather, it is about repeatedly ‘birthing into the child’ a steady sense of their inestimable worth, a prized understanding of their authentic self, a conviction that the impossible is largely the stuff of myth, and an utterly unwavering belief that the cold actions of men never represent the warm heart of God. It is the relentless act of birthing these things into the innermost soul of a thirsty child that makes a woman a mother.

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