Lisa Ling: Learning from the Best on Mother's Day

05/10/2013 at 05:45 PM EDT

Lisa Ling's Mother's Day Essay
Sister Laura, mother Mary and Lisa Ling
Courtesy Lisa Ling
Journalist Ling, 39, is the host of the OWN program Our America with Lisa Ling. She and her husband of nearly six years, biotech firm president Paul Song, 47, celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Jett, in March. Ling has chronicled her journey to motherhood with PEOPLE, and now shares her thoughts on the eve of Mother's Day.

Although this is my very first Mother's Day as a mother, it's only been eight weeks, so I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately though, I have an extraordinary person to whom I can look up – my mother Mary.

There are times when the words thank you are simply unable to express the degree of appreciation one has for someone else; that is how grateful I am to my mother.

While my sister Laura and I have always been close to our mom, it wasn't until we had kids of our own that the depth of our appreciation was truly realized.



Laura's daughter Li has never had a babysitter. Her husband Iain leaves the house at 5:30 a.m. and when Laura is out of town on assignment, our mom is at her door before most of the rest of the city arises and has never been a minute late.

These last two weeks, Li has been stricken by a bout of pink eye, bronchitis, a fever and an ear infection, and our mom has been at Laura's side the whole time.

When I gave birth two months ago to my daughter Jett by Caesarean section, my mom practically moved in with my husband Paul and me to help take care of both her granddaughter and daughter. She stayed up all night with us, she cleaned our house, she did all of our laundry – she helped us with everything. Mom broke her wrist when Jett was a month old and she was still doing all she could to make my life easier with the baby.

Even into adulthood, when Laura or I are ever sick, our mom literally swoops in to take care of us. She’ll cook her special Chinese black chicken soup and literally put us to bed with her motherly caress of our heads. Among the many roles she has played in our lives, she has acted as our caretaker, our courier, our financial consultant and our therapist – she deserves an award for the number of boyfriends she has helped me get past – and always without judgment, I might add.

Our mom is just that way; there is nothing that she wouldn't do for her daughters and now her granddaughters. I can hope that I will one day be the kind of mother than my mom has been to me.

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