May Day. Mothers Day. Memorial Day. We honor labor: The labor of workers and the labor of birth. The work of mothers and the work of war. We remember those who brought us into the world, those who worked to support us and those who fought to keep us safe.
That’s the romantic version anyway. Put that way it’s hard to tell the mothers from the laborers from the soldiers, and hard it should be because people who raise children do all those things. Regardless of gender or legal or biological relationship, people who raise children mother them, they labor for them, and they protect them. People with uteruses that have given birth to children also labor in factories and shoot weapons in war zones. Soldiers remember the children they’ve left at home and the jobs to which they hope they can return.
This May many have been working from home while homeschooling children and battling the novel enemy of a virus to which humans had never been exposed before. It’s surreal and it isn’t over.
June is right around the corner and I fear the fragile cessation of viral hostilities that appears to be spreading in some parts of the United States is leading many of us to feel safer than we should. What will we do when the next wave comes?
I’m so glad my mother didn’t have to live through this, but I miss her more than ever. She fought battles I’ll never know about. She labored in ways I never recognized. She is gone but I remember her. Maybe you do, too.