What It Means (To Be a Mother)

I love Mother’s Day. I love it. I have many friends who hate it, or are hurt by it, and I get it, and I’m sorry that they have to endure it. But still, I can’t help myself. Mother’s Day, for me, feels like the Christmas of Mamas. Even the week before, it feels this way, seeing other moms in public being kinder, sweeter, nicer, to their families; lest this day should come, and they should be greeted with coal, or its springtime cousin, compost, maybe.

I love Mother’s Day because it helps us remember how much we love our children, and it helps them remember how much they love us. It shines a light on a mostly thankless calling, and takes our eyes off of ourselves, and puts them back where they belong, onto the people that we love.

It reminds us of our beginnings, and takes us back to where we came from. Mother’s Day is a day of remembering our roots, while enjoying the blossoms on our newly budding branches. It helps us to look back at what has been, appreciate what is, and look forward to where hope lives, while celebrating. I love Mother’s Day, because I love being a Mommy.

Doing this Mom thing, means doing the hardest things that I have ever had to do. It means trying my best, and still failing a little every day. It means I have to put feet to my love, and do all the menial tasks that I swore in my Women’s Lib studies that weren’t good enough. It means cleaning up bodily fluids that don’t belong to me. Saying the same thing fifty times, and hearing, “But, you never told me…”

It means watching family heirlooms be broken, and remembering that they were just things. It means keeping my face neutral, as little voices pour out their secrets. It means holding hands, across all of life’s earliest streets. Potty training in public restrooms, and always questioning the cleanliness of toilet seats. It means don’t eat that, and don’t touch this, please do it this way, and don’t get hurt. It means I just need a minute, because Mommy needs to think, but whenever I am away from you, you are all I think about anyway.

It means that I love you more, than I have the courage or ability to love myself. It means that I would give my every heartbeat, to ensure that you are safe. It means walking slower, so that you can walk with me, it means everything takes longer than my watch says it should be. It means waking up, thinking of others, and falling asleep only after I have checked that you are still breathing. It means my throat has rocks in it, that my breath catches upon, whenever I see your chubby hands, or you sing, or say you love me.

Being a Mommy, means that I have to be strong. I have to keep going, and that I have to learn more. It means celebrating milestones, and trying to make every day special. It means saying I love you so much, throughout each day, as many times as it takes, for my children to remember it. It means kisses and cuddles, Band-aids and soothings. It means singing to tired little crankies, when I want to be reading. It means bedtimes and stories, and another drink of water. Brush your teeth, let me check, and good job, you did its.

It means spontaneous dance parties in the living room, and singing camp songs on road trips to keep the edge out of my voice. It means tears, laughter, and sometimes both at the same time. It means that everything is not about me any longer. Thank God. It means holding on, even after my nerves or arms have run out of strength, and letting go and trusting, before I feel ready. It means being scared, and steadying my voice, so that it doesn’t shake when I tell trusting hearts that everything is going to be okay.

Being a Mom means being a part of something so much bigger than you or I. It means having a worldwide tribe. It means having the support of others whose days look like mine. It means saying yes, to a whole new belonging. It means supporting and encouraging other soldiers in this fight. Giving smiles and kind words of encouragement, to the weary and battle scarred. It means being a part of the royal we, the we as mothers, we as humanity. It means the birthing of new hope, and next generations. It means that life will go on, and that goodness is not done. It means joy, and sorrow, all wrapped up in love. It means that your heart beats harder, and that things steal the breath from your lungs.

It means living a life, that is worth emulating. Rising above previous standards, and doing the right things. It means sacrifice beyond what we all thought we could give, and then being glad that we were able to stretch. It means heart break, and a million heart swells, every day. It means answering questions that I’d never considered. It means learning from the people that I brought into this earth, and hoping that I am teaching them just as much as they’re teaching me. It means being humbled. It means being loved. It means saying, “You are lovely,” so, so much.

It means strong arms, while keeping hands soft. It means looking in closets, and under beds, and being ready to fight off even imaginary threats. It means fruits and vegetables, and drinking enough water. It means sunscreen, and guilt, and waking up to try harder.

Being a Mommy is so much work. It is harder than I could tell you with a thousand words. But it’s wonderful, too. It’s the best thing I’ve done. The struggle is real, people. But so is the love. Wherever you are today, whether you celebrate, or not, I hope that you remember what you may have forgotten. That you matter, and have always mattered, to someone. That life is worth celebrating. And that you are loved.

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