Joy L. Moore: A letter to all mothers. Especially my own.

You are being a mother when you are kind, happy, thoughtful, playful, hardworking, empathetic, comforting, and fun.

(The Associated Press) Two Mother's Day cards from American Greetings, the first, left, from 1938, and the other a contemporary card from this year, show the difference in the how our societal view of motherhood has changed over the years, in Brooklyn, Ohio Monday, May 1, 2006.

My head rested upon my arms. My eyes were half asleep. Suddenly my teacher’s voice echoed into my ears, “Class, take out a piece of paper and write what you would like to be someday.”

What would I like to be? There are so many things I would like to be. An artist? A dancer? A writer? But what do I truly want to be most of all?

Without hesitation the answer clearly came to me: a mother. That is the one job I want to have above all. That is the one job that would bring me the greatest joy.

My teacher asked who would like to share what they wrote. I raised my hand. After I finished sharing, the whole class began giggling and laughing.

One said, “You want to be a mother? That is really a lame job. You are going to change your mind when you are older.”

I wondered at their response.

In my opinion, being a mother is more important than being an NFL player or a famous dancer. A mother is who created those people to do those amazing things. What would we become without a mother? It’s Mother who tells us stories, comforts us when we cry, reminds us to watch what we eat, say and do. It’s Mother who inspires us to be all we can be.

It’s my own mother who inspired me to dare publish this essay.

But a mother isn’t only a woman who has children and a husband.

She can be single and without children and still be a mother to other little children and even adults like herself.

A mother doesn’t solely have to be an adult either. It can be a child — being a mother to her siblings or cuddling a wounded dog.

What I am trying to say is there is a mother in each and every one of us — big or small, old or young, single or married, with children or without children,

You are being a mother when you are kind, happy, thoughtful, playful, hardworking, empathetic, comforting, and fun.

Because that’s what a mother is. All of those things. At different times. From quietly comforting to energetically encouraging. From continuously cleaning to relentlessly reading. From patiently pushing to sincerely soothing. And all this topped with enduring enveloping love. It must sound like a lot of things. And you may feel like you can’t be all of those things every time.

But you don’t have to. Just be there.

Try to be comforting and empathetic when a child or adult is wounded physically or emotionally. Be that listening ear and patient eye even when you have a million things to do. Be fun and playful when others want to play tag around the backyard.

You can be a wonderful mother. You just have to find the mother inside.

Some people make it sound like men are more powerful or more important in this world and that the woman’s nurturing job is unimportant and boring. They may say that growing a billion-dollar company is superior while growing a human being is inferior. But they are downright wrong. Mothers are the forgers of the world’s future. Without good mothers this world will fall apart.

I want to give special thanks to my wonderful mother who has been every one of the things that a mother should be and says sorry when she’s not.

Joy L. Moore

Joy L. Moore, Salt Lake City, is an ambitious 10-year old (almost 11). She enjoys art, dance, writing, swimming and playing with her siblings.