05/01/2015 12:55 pm ET | Updated May 01, 2016


Monica Stevens-Kirby

I just got a full-on cardio workout performing your standard car version of the "Frozen" soundtrack. Daddy belting, driving and doing Robot moves; Mommy singing, emoting and directing the orchestral interludes and Baby in the backseat cutting her vocal chords on some fine Disney iconicism.

It's how we roll through the suburbs -- windows down and Broadway blasting. Weird Al might say, "Ridin' Nerdy," and he would be all too close.

I dare not spare you the melty, drippy details of Mother's Day cards, which you shall surely find yourself in need of at the last hour, right between church and its carnations and packed pews and Grandmother's long-labored dinner and crowded kitchen. You'll go to Walgreen's and be sweating on the Hallmarks before you to find the right ratio of quote to watercolor flowers.


Today, I "broke" my daughter's pacifier. She was whizzing around the room, and I found a corner in which to hide, hold the scissors and slice the rubbery nub in half. It almost killed me. I ran about my day swearing I would never allow her to go to school or college or anywhere ever, ever.

I almost kept it, but I have an aversion to ending up on "Hoarders." As Elsa put it, "Let It Go." Rargh! It was so hard. (Keep a lock of sunshine curl. Jam it in the book.) The pacifier will go to the dump with the diapers and the other stuff.

When a baby is born, she is attached to her mother and then unattached and reattached. She looks into her mother's face and sees her smile and notices it and nods. Her hands follow as she traces their outline with a fuzzy roundabout. Before we know it, she flaps her arms and flexes her toes, having noticed those, too. She wiggles from our laps and understands herself as a separate being, no longer fused to her mother. She begins her first adolescence in which "no" becomes integrated into her diet of mind, body, and soul. "I'm not you. I'm me."

Rapunzel's mother kept her locked away in a tower to prevent her from knowing the world. Fairy tales are filled with evil stepmothers, dying mothers, locks of hair, enchanted songs, loneliness and darkness. There is harm when we stray. We know this over and over and over. Danger! Bad people!

There is thread of "mother" that we all need. It does not die. Many of you are without a mother on this Mother's Day for varying reasons. Some of you are mothers without your children on this Mother's Day. But we are never without the need for a mother and mothering. Grief seeps in when mother is not attached by a red thread, however small, that twists and binds and loosens and finds itself tangled, yet never untangled, by the heart, by the tendons, by the vessels, by the cells, by the tears, by the flesh, by the hair, by the bones and by the touch of skin-to-skin and breath to breath.

Tonight, my husband confessed that when he came home and saw the broken pacifier, he cried. He wept on our bed and fell asleep. Today, I made a kinetic sacrifice of a deep, deep metaphor. The umbilical cord passed through my hands as sand. The wood and glass timer inverted and subverted and subjected itself to the inevitable. She is not a baby anymore.