My name is Kristina Cerise. I love my husband, my children, and my dictionary—mostly in that order. My love for Merriam and Webster may not be stronger than my love for my husband and children, but I’ve loved the dictionary duo longer.
I relish the revelation of an unexpected nuance in a word.
Take apprehensive, for example:
capable of understanding or quick to do so; discerning; having awareness or knowledge of something; viewing the future with anxiety or alarm
I’d used apprehensive as a synonym for nervous for years before I discovered it was so much more. It captures both a sense of understanding and a sense of alarm. It’s essentially well-informed panic. Apprehensive was my go-to word on the day I sent my first born to kindergarten.
On occasion, my beloved dictionary lets me down. There are some words even Merriam and Webster can’t quite capture, like love. Or longing. But, no definition is more inadequate than the definition of mother: a female parent.
There’s no mention of stretch marks, sleep deprivation, or cracked nipples. No nod to carpools, laundry, or sack lunches. No warning about boogers, projectile vomit, or the stomach-dropping worry you’re doing it wrong. There’s no heads up that laughter will forever be accompanied by a little bit of pee.
While technically true, the definition of mother rings false because of all the things Merriam and Webster left out. So, I set out to try to find words that capture the nitty-gritty moments that make up the whole.
Some of my stories will have you nodding along. Others won’t. That’s okay. Millions of women with unique backgrounds, priorities, gifts and talents all share the same title – Mother.
These are my stories. No doubt you have your own.
I hope you tell them.