Mothers….their job is to worry, right? Sadly, I’ve helped my mothers in that department for years. I’ve probably made their jobs way too easy. My mom, Alice, my stepmom, Susan, and, more recently, my mother-in-law, Lynne, have lived through many stressful expeditions as I’ve climbed around the world. And, of course, Wende, the mother of my children, is enduring now her 6th Everest expedition since 2001. Yikes. That’s a lot of worry, and for that, I am sorry.
But, on this Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate that worry, to cherish it, to honor it. For a mother’s worry is something unique – it’s not a simple worry, one borne of needless nitpicking and finding something proverbially scary to obsess about in the world. Rather, a mother’s worry is more often rooted in deep concern for a child’s wellbeing and happiness, security, and longevity in this crazy life. It’s a beautiful worry – even when it gets annoying – that reflects a mother’s desire and instinct to give and provide and secure the best in life for her children.
In my case, the undue worry I’ve placed upon my mothers has been, to a degree, selfish. I’ve chosen to climb, to accept and embrace risk as my means of fully living. The wellspring of my life’s energy is also the wellspring of my mothers’ worry.
In so many other places, this is not the case. The root of worry for mothers in Rulindo, Rwanda; South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India; Cochabamba, Bolivia; or Chinda, Honduras, is not usually their children heading off to Everest and the inherent risk. Rather, their worry is rooted in life itself: clean water, debilitating disease, deadly parasites, inadequate sanitation, etc. That said, it is still a worry borne of a mother’s desire and instinct to give and provide and secure the best in life for her children.
So, on this Mother’s Day 2012, I’d like to send out a big tribute to mothers everywhere. We children thank you for your worry – we know where it comes from, and we appreciate it. And, to my mothers, thank you for your worry, and my apologies for causing it. But, together with Water For People, we’re making a little dent in the worries of other mothers around the world.