Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 8, 2012

Mardi Link: Mom's mantra


---- — Ed. note: Today we introduce Mardi Link as a local columnist. The Traverse City-based author of "Isadore's Secret" has also written a memoir about motherhood that will be published in 2013. She will write on parenting and family-related themes.

We Americans are people of "do."

For proof, just look at our popular mottos with the word "do" in them. For athletics, there's "Just do it." For bucking the status quo, we've got, "If it feels good, do it." For the hesitant and indecisive, try "Do it now!" That last one works best when delivered in your Arnold-as-Terminator voice.

Even that short, squat, spiritual man-troll from "Star Wars" has a "do" of his own. "Do. Or do not," Yoda admonishes Luke, when the junior Jedi can't quite levitate his Starfighter. "There is no try."

If I could move a heavy object with my mind, I'd start with the hamper of smelly soccer clothes in my son's bedroom, work my way up to the giant bin of recyclables overflowing in the mudroom, and for my big finish, I'd float the sleeper sofa so I could vacuum underneath.

A clean, organized, freshly laundered home. Now that would be a Jedi mind trick!

As a daughter, a sister, a wife, mother of three sons and stepmother of two more, I'll admit it; I'm a doer. I program the coffee maker at night, but am usually up the next morning before it starts dripping. By lunchtime, I've edited an essay, clipped the dog's nails, updated my fantasy football team and planned a gluten-free dinner. Evening comes and it's time to collapse in my favorite chair, read the paper and watch the news for local meth busts, developments in the Middle East and the three-day forecast.

If I were Arnold the Terminator, or had a smidgen of his ability to intimidate, I'd surely enjoy the news interruption-free. Since I'm not, I've perfected a "do" of my own: "Do It Anyway."

Husband doesn't want to relinquish the TV remote? Do it anyway.

Son thinks homework is dumb? Do it anyway.

Dog doesn't want to go outside in the sleet? Do it anyway.

The real value of this motto, though, is that it's applicable to more serious challenges.

Feel like your small gift to charity during the holidays won't make a big difference? Do it anyway.

Think that the kindness you give to your family isn't appreciated? Do it anyway.

Believe that a good deed won't be acknowledged? Do it anyway.

I can't claim authorship of "Do It Anyway." Legend has it that this motto was written on the wall inside Mother Teresa's home for children. That's good enough for me.

As the newspaper's newest columnist, I invite you to write to me so that we can explore the "do's" of modern family life together.

What? You've never written to the newspaper? Well, this is only my first column, but I bet you already know what I'd say about that.

It starts with "Do."

Send comments and questions to Mardi Link care of the Record-Eagle or via email at