I started filling out that online form that creates a mother’s day card for your mom. It prompted me to check off the things she is good at, with options like “Doing the Laundry,” “Unloading the Dishwasher,” and “Hugs!” While she is good at hugs, there are other more important things I would have checked if they were options. Things like “Don’t Take Shit From Anyone,” “Taking Risks,” and “Believing You Can Do Anything.”
My parents moved our family across an ocean and a continent when I was 7 and my sister was 3 so that my mom could start a career in Los Angeles. I get stressed at the thought of going to the grocery store with one child. I can’t imagine moving two of them to another country.
She has worked full time for my entire life. I used to call her office and when her assistant would answer with “Juliet Blake’s Office” I never knew whether to ask to speak to “Juliet” or “my mom” so I would split the difference and gingerly ask, “Can I speak to her? This is her daughter.” She always came to talk to me, even if it was just to say “I’m in a meeting darling, is everything okay? Can I call you back?”
When I was in 5th grade, she was working for the Jim Henson company. She came to my school for career day and brought Muppets toys for everyone. She was the biggest hit that day, even though there was a dad who was a detective on the OJ Simpson trial. It was one of the many times that I remember feeling proud of how cool she was.
In high school, all my friends liked her so much that they started calling her “mom” too. They still do, and now that we’re all spread out over the country, they still ask me “how’s mom doing?” Or they’ll stay with mom if they’re in town.
About five years ago, she bought the rights to a book that she liked and started shopping it around to movie studios. She’s a dreamer, so every time she told me about it I took it with a grain of salt. Then one day while I was on my lunch break she called me to say “Exciting news—the movie’s being made, and guess who is producing it with me: Spielberg and Oprah.” Part of me couldn’t believe it, but most of me could, because she’s my mom and she has the ability to not only achieve her goals, but to blow them out of the water. It opens in August. I know that when we see her name on screen for the first time, my whole family in a row of a dark theatre, there will be tears. We’re all proud of how cool she is.
I don’t know if it’s my age, the industry I work in, or just a hot topic in media lately, but it seems like everywhere I turn there’s an article about women not being able to “have it all,” or needing to “lean in”. When I was a kid, I never realized these were issues. There was never a question in my mind if women could have it all, because I ate dinner every night with one who did.