Happy Almost Mother's Day to all the moms out there! A special wish for you to be showered with love, hugs, kisses and cupcakes (and texts from your adult children who live in another city)! I'm hoping the family remembers to reserve Raul for my massage, Chaz for my hair and make-up, and Richard Gere for my Tango lesson...it's a Bucket List thing!
Mommyhood, or Motherhood as some refer to it, is an opportunity that lasts a lifetime. We may not always want it, but it's there, and it's ours! We have been given gifts from God that are so incredibly unique and special. It's up to us, and friends, and family, and sometimes perfectly amazing strangers who are sometimes disguised as teachers or doctors, to wrap ourselves around each other in order to grow these wonderful gifts until they learn to grow themselves! Whew! Not a job for the faint-hearted!
I'm taking my unique and special gifts out to breakfast this weekend at IHOP. Since I'm paying, I get to pick the place! After my massage, beautification and dancing, I am meeting a good friend who will accompany me to Listen To Your Mother, St. Louis, which is a performance of live readings by local writers, about their experiences as moms, or experiences about their moms. Fifty percent of the proceeds from this event will go to Connections to Success, an organization that works to help women break the poverty cycle through hope, resources and a plan. I submitted a piece to read for this event, but alas, they could only choose 12 to perform. I'd like to share my story with you here.
They Call Me Mom!
Mooooooooom! Mommy? Mother! Mama! Thanks, mom! I love you Mommie! Mom….
Each of these statements evokes deep emotional memories for me. I said these words to my mom, and these very words have come back to me via my children…all four of them…and sometimes simultaneously! I’m a mom, and a happy, full-fledged member of an extraordinary group known as Motherhood!
The gift of a child may come to us in different ways. It doesn’t matter how they came to us; just that they are here and we are blessed to have them in our lives. My husband and I planned to have two children…God said “I don’t think so!” I said, "okay.." I was up for the challenge. What else did I have going on? My twenties were filled with taking chances and being unaccountable for my actions. I promised myself to grow up in my thirties…and I did, with a vengeance! My first was born when I was 31 and my fourth, when I was 39. I grew up, but I also grew younger because of them. I learned how to play all over again!
I believe that Motherhood extends beyond child-rearing and can include anyone who cares for, nurtures, and stresses relentlessly about the well-being of another person…who could be a sibling, a parent, a pet (or pets), or in many cases…ourselves. Mothering ourselves is paramount for our survival. We know exactly what we want and we know how to get it, even if our “want” turns out to be what we “need!”
There are people who have been charged with the “challenge” of Motherhood who are not stepping up to their responsibilities. Maybe they are unable, or maybe they have no interest in fulfilling this part of their legacy. I pray that someone will reach out to them and offer help.
Motherhood, for many of us, is about guiding, not control. There is, actually, a difference. I only recently became aware of this having spent years telling my children what to do with their lives. I still have days where I want to jump into the “Double Dutch” game of life with them, spewing words of experience and wisdom, but then I feel the firm hand of the big guy above covering my mouth and I take a step back. I now share my thoughts (when I’m asked) being ever-so-careful not to solve their problems, but to give them some options to figure it out themselves!
On the emotional side, here are some examples of the highest of joys and the deepest of pain to which moms from everywhere can relate.
Hearing a heartbeat for the first time
Making eye contact with a little one and the mutual smile that ensues
Watching the bus drive away with a kindergartner on that first day of school
Reading the words “I love you” written in crayon…on the wall
Feeling the gentle, final breath as it brushes against the face…forever
Bursting with pride as the Eagle Scout receives his award while the live eagle poops on stage right
Releasing a flood of tears as the pint-sized casket is lowered into the ground
Enduring the endless nights of fevers; amazed at the fleeting years that have vanished
Swallowing the lump in the throat as the bride and father walk down the aisle
All of these are badges of Motherhood. We have certainly earned them, and we wear them with pride. I feel privileged to be a Mother. I have been deeply touched and I now live my life with more conviction and purpose because of my experiences as a Mom. I’m thrilled to pieces every time they call me Mom…no matter how they say it!
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope that all moms (and dads) are made to feel loved this weekend!
Artwork provided by the The Graphics Fairy, LCC