Since it’s time to look back at the past year, and because we Americans love making lists, I offer you my list of memorable moms of 2008.
Some of these women made my list because of things they did; others because of things that happened to them. The women on my list are not necessarily here because I agree with who they are or what they stand for, but they’re all moms, and they’re all memorable and admirable in some way.
So these are the American mothers I think of when I think of 2008. In no particular order, I give you:
• Michelle Obama: One of the reasons her spouse can do what he does is because Michelle rocks motherhood. She’s the mom that other moms (OK, that I) want to sit down with, quaff a glass of vino with, and talk about keeping our kids grounded. She seems fierce and feisty about her babies (the two “F”s of mom-dom). And I’m still blown away by the well-mannered campaign appearances by the young Obama girls. I imagine bribery may have been involved, but you do what you must do. Right, Michelle?
• Britney Spears: Brit’s had a comeback year, whatever that means. I hate to see anyone denied contact with their kids, though there are situations where kids are better off taking a break from mom while mom works out her s**t. Being a young mom isn’t easy. Being a young mom constantly chased by paparazzi is not for the faint-hearted. But Brit isn’t that young anymore, and it might be time for her to stop dressing like a street walker. Despite her lack of fashion sense, I’m glad to see that Brit’s acting more like a mother with her kids. Example: her recent tasteful and cute Christmas card featured her snuggling under a Christmas tree with her boys (it’s on her Web site—I didn’t receive one personally. This year.).
• Sarah Palin: Chick campaigned all over the country, dragging four of her five kids along with her, including her baby with Down syndrome and her pregnant teenager. And let’s face it—while we know she had an arsenal of handlers, Sarah always looked great going it. She was never ruffled or baggy-eyed. Sadly for moms everywhere, she rarely talked publicly about what it was like to do what she was doing with a young family in tow. She didn’t open up about the difficulties, the challenges or the excitement. She didn’t explain how her kids felt about this unique family adventure otherwise known as the 2008 presidential campaign. Regardless, Sarah’s part of our culture now, and she’s a prolific mom and new grandma (just got to say—thank the goddesses it’s not me becoming a granny at 44).
• Michael Phelps’ mom: Her name is Debbie Phelps, but she’s known throughout the universe as “Michael Phelps’ mom.” I think that’s just fine with her. She refers to herself as her son’s No. 1 fan. Watching Debbie cheer for Michael in the 2008 Olympics was almost as much fun as watching the hunky swimmer win a record-breaking eight gold medals.
• Angelina Jolie: Also known as Momgelina. You gotta admire a woman who both adopts kids from developing countries and pumps them out herself—even two at a time. Last I read, there are six kidlings running around in the Jolie/Pitt family. And Bradgelina say they want more. In fact, rumors suggest she could be pregnant with baby seven (it’d be her fourth biological kid in three years). Makes my hips hurt just thinking about it. But you go, mom.
That’s my list of most memorable nationally (or internationally) known moms. While there are many, many moms kid-wrangling in Western North Carolina whom I admire, one comes to mind as particularly memorable in 2008:
• Michaela Blanton: Her spouse, Trooper Shawn Blanton, 24, was shot to death in a routine traffic stop near Canton, N.C., in June. At the time, the couple’s prematurely-born son, Tye Blanton, lay in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mission Hospitals battling severe health issues. In October, exactly four months to the day after his father was killed, Tye died.
Michaela consistently showed immense strength, grace and bravery under unimaginably crushing losses. Michaela’s experiences moved thousands of people to contribute both money and other forms of loving support to her. While nothing ever can replace the losses she’s suffered, this story is an example of community trumping tragedy. Your community mourns with you, Michaela, and supports you unconditionally in your healing process.
That’s it for my memorable moms of 2008. Not that this is anywhere near a complete list. Who are your memorable moms? Tell me in the comments at www.mountainx.com.
Anne Fitten “Edgy Mama” Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.