Astronaut's Mother's Day message from space: 'Distance doesn't change' love
Astronaut Cady Coleman, shown here with a space station robot, has been in space for the past five months.
May 8th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Astronaut's Mother's Day message from space: 'Distance doesn't change' love

Cady Coleman is like many moms, unfortunately spending Mother’s Day away from her family.  But unlike the others, Coleman is an astronaut on the international space station, orbiting 220 miles above the Earth.

She’s the only woman on board.  Hopefully, the boys up there gave her Sunday off.  Usually each crew member gets one day a week to chill.

Coleman may be an astronaut, but first and foremost she is a mom.  Cady sent me an e-mail a few days back. I could tell she was just beaming while writing about how her 10-year-old son, Jamey, had struck out three batters in one inning in his Little League game.

She just sent me this message telling me what it has been like up there, the work she is doing and why it is so important, and her feelings on being so far away on this day.  So now, in her words:

“Being a mom is special, and distance doesn’t change the bond we have with those we love.  It never goes away, even when you leave the planet for a few months!  It seems like just yesterday that Paolo Nespoli, Dmitry Kondratyev and I strapped ourselves into a frozen and creaking Russian Soyuz rocket, and were launched into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.   For the past five months, I’ve made the International Space Station (ISS) my home in low earth orbit, circling our Earth 16 times every single day at 17,500 miles per hour.  From 200 miles above the earth, my husband Josh and sons Jamey and Josiah seem both close  and far.

"I get to talk to my family almost every day via an internet protocol phone, and once a week we get to see each other on a video conference.  I still miss lots of important events and occasions, but thanks to Josh, Jamey writes a short journal entry almost every day.  Josh sends it to me and I love to hear about life from the perspective of a 10 year old.  Jamey is fond of a cartoon where a small boy and a tiger share adventures and get themselves into all sorts of mischief.

"I brought a small stuffed tiger up here with me and I take photos for Jamey so that he can relate to what his Mom does on the space station.  From the tiger’s perspective, there is a lot of great trouble to get into here on the ISS!

"Life in our ‘zero gravity’ world on the ISS is fascinating.  We talk about floating around, but really we get to fly from place to place.  It is just like Peter Pan, except that we are grownups!  This place brings out the child in all of us, and it is a nice reminder to me to treasure the things and the people that touch my heart.

"I love looking out the window at our Earth  a fragile oasis in a busy universe.  When I see the places that I know – the places where my family lives  it makes me feel closer to them, although still a bit wistful and lonely when I see those places recede over the horizon.

"It was hard for me to go so far away, but I’m hoping that I set an example for my child and others to follow their dreams.  My family knows that I love the work that I am doing up here, and that I think it is important enough to be gone from home for so long.

"Today as I look down at our beautiful Earth, I think of mothers everywhere and realize that we are all of one family.  I am not the only one who is farther from their loved ones than they would wish to be.  Today we celebrate those women who are supporting their families, following their dreams and making a difference, and we thank all of them.

"I’d especially like to thank the women who serve our countries in jobs that keep them from home on holidays like this one.

"Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, step mom, mother-in-law and to moms everywhere.”

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Filed under: Shuttle • Space
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. kaalu

    It is a really a good article which helps me to feel like talking with my mom, though I haven't meet her since one year. With this message I would like to say Happy mother day to my mom and astronauts Candy too.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cutiepie

      Why isn't she at home with her kids?????? Let's my dreams.....or raise my children???? I CHOOSE to work instead of raising my children. Shameful.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • NorthPhoenix

      to "cutipie", couldn't have said it better myself

      May 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Wow, you women are pretty backwards. It is possible to raise your kids and have a committed career at the same time. I am sure her husband is taking care of her kids just fine in her absence. Traditional gender roles are no longer valid in today's society and frankly I find the notion that a woman's proper place is in her home minding her children quite appalling. In other words, I will NEVER marry someone like you two. I'd marry the astronaut woman.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cutiepie

      "Traditional gender roles are no longer valid in today's society..."

      Yeah - sad isn't it. That's the problem. No one is watching/raising our kids any more. Work is waaay more important than the priviledge of raising my children. Not sure about you, but I would rahter invest my time in raising a child's life than chasing the almighty dollar. I see where your priorities are. My kids NEED me to be there when they come home from school so they can freely share their day with me. When you are older, I hope you look back on life and wish you spent MORE time in the office. That's pretty sad. Here's the choice: Selfishly chase your dream/job....or raise the children you brought into this world.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hello?

      Yessiirree, I'm glad the economy hasn't changed in last 30-40 years. Every mother I know is a housewife. Not.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • RosaFranklin

      I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and certainly benefited from it in certain ways. I never had to go to a daycare or have a sitter, and my mom was always available to bring any forgotten schoolwork to school for me (which also had the downside of not teaching me to take responsibility for my own forgetfulness, but whatever). So I feel lucky that my mom was able to stay home with my sister and I. HOWEVER, I also think it's wonderful that this woman has followed her dreams and pursued her choice of career. Those kids are lucky as well, because they have her as a role model. Sure, you could argue that kids have a dad to look up to when it comes to careers and ambition and so on – but why not have a strong female career role model as well? It's not necessary, of course – I very much respect stay-at-home moms and plan to be one, at least for a few years while my kids are young. But I also very much respect working moms, who do their best to balance work and home life. I really don't think it hurts kids, nor do I think it's at all selfish for a grown adult to want a career and a life outside her children. Honestly, I think that when it comes to raising kids, there are pros and cons to either course – stay-at-home parenting vs. maintaining a full-time career. As long as moms (and dads) are satisfied with what they do and manage to make time for their kids every day, I think everyone will be just fine.

      May 8, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. aboveitall2

    such a terrible inconvenience her being take away from her family...and she's not even BLACKQUE!!!

    May 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Logan Brown

    Those are good points - wish my mom was home more. She has been working since i was 1 year old. Hey, at least we live in a big house and have lots of money. Just wish I had a better relationship with her. I know my helper better than I know my mom.

    May 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • aboveitall2

      I always heard working for the USA as an asternut and woman was so painful...almost like having intercourse with an ATLAS rocket as the male tool!

      May 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet

      Right – I'm sure she's ridden a few rockets before - if you know what I mean.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      She's probably riding a couple of Pocket Rockets up there in space! Bet her husband loves that! LOL

      May 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. aboveitall2

    this is what indulging in fantasy can lead too...a terribly awkward lifestyle...SO PAINFUL!!! I am crying right now fer her! Rivers o' TEARS!!!

    May 8, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin in Atlanta

    Wow, she can send her mom a message from space, and I haven't even called my mother yet....and she lives down the street...

    I feel terrrible 🙁

    May 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • aboveitall2

      yes, she wlll call ur mom right after I dictate it to her...and wish her Merry Christmas!

      May 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Yeah - too bad she's chasing her own dream...whilst her children...

    are at home wondering where mommy is. Shameful mother chasing her own dreams instead of raising her kids. Pretty selfish lifestyle.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • aboveitall2

      this hoe is just a silly fool that looks a lot like Roseanne Barr...and with a mind to match! That is why one of my favorite actors, Tom Arnold ditched that idiot!

      May 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NorthPhoenix

    That hair looks like something out of a Saturday Night Live skit. Maybe, Rosanna, Rosanna Danna.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ***DUDE***

    you guys are wacked – I bet her kids are happy and proud of her!

    May 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. McGowan

    I agree somewhat with both of you....but have to admit I was faced with that CHOICE five years ago. I CHOSE to be with my children instead of working. I have absolutely no regrets and love being a full time mom. In fact, I am a better mom than MANY of my friends who CHOOSE to work. I'll go back to work after they're finished with high school. Where's the fire??? I made the right decision to raise my children and not demonstrate to them that a paycheck and a big house are way more important then being with them and raising them. I just hope YOUR kids don't burglarize my house some day because of your lack of parenting priorities.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tracy

    Do ya'll not understand the importance of what the astronauts on the ISS do??? She does. She IS a good mom. She loves her kids and I bet you when she's not in space she's home ALL THE TIME with her kids! But she knows that the work they're doing up there will help ALL of HUMANITY and isn't that worth a few months away from her kids? What about all the moms serving in the military? Do you think they are horrible moms too? Maybe you should look to your own lives before you judge someone else so harshly. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Janet

    Yea, I'm sure her kids are real proud of her - wondering where mommy is on Mother's Day of all days. What a poor example of what a real mom should be. So let me make sure I got this's better for mom to be chasing her own agenda while her children are at home wondering where mommy is. Pathetic.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Janet

    "and I bet you when she's not in space she's home ALL THE TIME with her kids..."

    Yeah, right. I'll bet she NEVER goes into work to practice to be an astronaut. Wow are you naive. Let me help you with this (you might want to sit down).....she's not a good example of true mother who raises her kids. She comes home and SAYS (speaks) "I love you kids".....and then WALKS OUT (action) of the house every day to chase HER own dream. Actions speak louder than words. You don't think the kids are smart enough to figure that out? They'll be cutting themselves and taking drugs when they get into Jr High. Seen it time and time again.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tracy

    What's pathetic is that so many Americans are so obsessed with instant gratification that mothers like her are judged so harshly by people like you. What are YOU doing to contribute to the good of humanity?

    May 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. tracy

    @Janet I feel really sorry for you. You sound like a truly miserable person.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      You too Tracy - shame on you for scolding her. Could it be that YOU are felling guilty for not being there for your kids over the years? Sound to me like you CHOSE to work instead of raising your children. Pretty shameful Tracy. Pretty sad.

      May 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy


    I do not know what your problem is concerning this woman, but perhaps a visit to a qualified therapist would help you figure out where your underlying hatred is coming from.

    Shock therapy might help you, too.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Banasy - I'm not so sure that she's got a problem. She makes some very good points...there are MANY women who CHOOSE to work. I think all she is saying is that these women are making a bad choice from the child's perspective. Too many women make the choice (selfishly) from their own perspective becuase that's the society we live in today - it's all ABOUT ME! So I can certainly see her point. Plenty of moms out there that CHOOSE to work and then dump their children off at the local day care center for some 18 yr old girl to raise their kid. Not sure that's the best way to do parentling.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
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