to my mother who has — more than anyone else in my life — sacrificed, served, prayed for, affected, and loved me. my words will never be enough but they are something. thank you for laboring for me from the beginning. i will need you until the end. i adore you. can i crawl back in your pouch yet?
to all the others who have mothered me, you are countless. when thinking of how many amazing women have advised me, prayed over me, pushed me to higher heights and loved me in the depths, i am overwhelmed with how lucky i am. it’s rare and i don’t take it lightly. thank you for giving me your time, your energy, your care. i’m deeply grateful. you are all mothers in the best ways.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
when i was a child, mothering felt more like smothering. any advice given or sideways look was taken as a personal assault. when i was a child, i talked like the child i was: loud, inconsiderate, foolish. when i was a child, i thought that mothering was easy, something i could easily improve on. when i was a child, i reasoned away my mother’s wisdom and love as if it was something trivial, something everyone had the benefit of experiencing.
when i became a (wo)man, i put the ways of childhood behind me. mostly.
mothering is laboring from the first second your child is born. it is a labor of love quite literally. mothering is arduous work in the middle of the night. it is correcting and rebuking all the live long day. mothering is saying no when you want to say yes. mothering is second-guessing all your decisions and having to decide anyways. mothering is doing the hardest work you’ll ever do and that you’ll never be thanked enough for (even on mother’s day). mothering is (i’m told) having part of you live outside your body forever. sometimes the best mothering is silently loving your child. sometimes it’s yelling. mothering is showing up for work every morning at 6 am (or was it 3 am?) and never getting a lunch break and working the graveyard shift that night. mothering is, in short, difficult. in length — terrifying, painful, and the most sacrificial thing you’ll ever do.
mothering is instinctual. it is listening to the small, still voice directing you as you go. mothering is a work of art, unique to you and your giftings – sometimes flailing paint haphazardly, sometimes doing minute work that will take years to complete. mothering is ambiguous and uncertain in equal proportion. you’ll have to blaze your own trail.
mothering is giving your kids the life you wanted. it is saying “yes”, “yes”, “yes” with joy at the delight in your children’s faces. it is love unimagined, euphoria beyond what you could have comprehended. mothering is holding that baby at one month and wondering that you have her whole life ahead of you. mothering is holding that baby at 17 years and wishing you’d appreciated the last 16. mothering is recording every laugh, the first steps, the first real wise choice, their putting their whole faith in god and storing it away on diskettes and cds and dvds and usbs and in your mind and whatever saves the memories for you forever. mothering is a free fall of love and banter and friendship. mothering is playing with abandon, creating little humans that become big ones. mothering is a joy, gift, pleasure, your best job.
to all you who mother (and smother) it is a gift. not everyone gets that privilege — to mother or be mothered. i pray today would be a day that we recognize the amazing, arduous job our mothers have done. however imperfectly, however painfully or however precisely and perfectly — we have been mothered. happy mother’s day to you all!