I think mother is the most beautiful word in the English language. When I think of its beauty and turn it over in my mind, I’m not thinking of myself, but of my own mother.

Some days, just the thought of my mom nearby is comforting. I adore her. She enables me to carry out so much of what I want, and need to do, to maintain some level of personal fulfillment. Yes, I’m married to a guy who is both a great husband and dad, but she is my release valve.

As a mom of young kids, friends often acknowledge how lucky I am to live near my parents. I agree, we are lucky, but Dave and I uprooted our lives to be close to them when we became parents. With a pick of places with booming economies, culture scenes, mass transit, and amenable climates, do you think I’d pick Hartford?

No, I wouldn’t. But I’ll pick Hartford over Brooklyn, Seattle, or Portland any day because my parents enhance our quality of life.

My mom and I have always had a solid relationship. Save for the time I defied her and got a tattoo, and that other time I moved across country to prove that I was bold and independent, and that other time I briefly dated a guy significantly older than me, we’ve generally seen eye to eye.

Tattoo by the incredibly talented Amanda Wachob

In different ways over the years, I’ve needed my mom. As a child, I needed her one way, which evolved as I grew into an angsty teenager, and then a young adult navigating the world. Once, when I was a T-riding college student in Boston, she came to visit. All my 20-year old stresses seeped from my shoulders as she drove me far from the city, to treat me to lunch at a foggy seaside town. I just needed to get out of my roommate-filled apartment in the city, to have coffee and a conversation with my mom. My release valve.

But I’ve never needed her so much as I do now that I’m a mother.

Yesterday, my mother-in-law mentioned that something was bothering her, and her immediate reaction was to call her mom. Her mom passed away 15 years ago. I don’t know if that gut feeling ever goes away.

As I mull over the concept of mother, I consider covering up the tattoo my mom begged me not to get, the one that I detest all these years later, with something that honors her.

No doubt she’d tell me this is the worst idea ever, but something about it appeals to me.

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