Hey Mama, I Love You
My mama, your mama, me, you, all the mama's. I love them. As mentioned in my Valentine's Day post, I like punctuated (some may call them "Hallmark") holidays since becoming a mother. Why?
Because we don't acknowledge ourselves or each other often enough. Because life can become a snotshow of every day chores, of laundry piles and dirty diapers, of carefully prepared lunches flipped off the table and changing everyone's clothes 15 times a day, of rushing to work or stressing to balance it all.
In that melee of parenthood, it's hard to remember to stop and say, "You're doing a good job. You're enough. You are everything your child needs and more. Thank you for everything that you do day-in and day-out."
Seems simple, and sometimes we manage to squeak the words out as we fly-by each other in the endless list of chores above, but not often enough.
So a full day, a whole entire day, dedicated to appreciating mothers? I'll take it. And the cards, the breakfast in bed, the flowers and gifts. It may seem contrived, but I'll take it. Appreciation feels good and it fuels us to keep going on the days we feel like we're trudging through a desert of unappreciation.
Because for all those difficult little moments, I love being a mom. The fact that I am a mom took me a while to wrap my brain around. It did. I immediately embraced my little wonder and I didn't let her go. But for a long time, I couldn't shake the thoughts of, "She's mine? Forever? I made this? I will raise her right? Am I going to be an okay mom?" So I just clung tight to her, singing, dancing, laughing, and often crying my way through it, until it all made sense.
I also had the most wonderful mom to model myself after. Today, I am grateful for the kind words that my friends and family offer to me. But I am most thankful for my own mama, who taught me how to do this thing.
With her infinite patience. You've never seen patience like the patience of my mom (although she does have boundaries, which I located at an early age, and found again more than once thereafter).
With her strength, in the way she stands up for her children and her family, in the way she taught us that nothing can tear us down, that we can and will be anything we dream up.
For her support every time I did dream something up, which was often-bordering-on-constant. From my bedroom wonderland growing up (whatever I wanted to be at any given time, she would transform my room into that world. So when I wanted to be a teacher, it became a little schoolhouse, for example. When I wanted to be a businesswoman, it became a well-equipped office), to The Saturn Return Project a few years back ("Hi mom, yeah, I'm going to quit my job, leave my apartment and everything normal, pack a suitcase and travel the world to explore the ad industry." "Okay, honey. That makes no sense to me, but I support you!"). Those are the words, and that is the kind of support, that shape a child's life.
I've always known that no matter what, my mom had my back until the end of time. That she would give her life or anything off her back for me or my sister. She would spend her last penny on us, if we needed it.
Yet she also taught humility and grace, deep respect and empathy for others, and that she and dad were there "in times of need, not in times of greed." She spoiled us, but somehow instilled an appreciation for what we had in every possession or bite of food, without lecturing. In fact, I'm not sure at all how she did it.
By example, I guess. Her family grew up struggling financially, but not for love, and she often told stories of her childhood. It made her resourceful and creative. So creative. Probably the most creative person I've ever met. My mom is a beautiful artist, a jeweler and diamond-setter by trade, with whom a "mommy play date" would involve making a ring or some other form of jewelry, or constructing worry dolls, or some other crafty project. She made our minds explode and encouraged us to explore the world around us.
She is gorgeous inside and out in equal parts, but her most stunning asset is her heart.
I could go on and on, but I won't, because you're likely thinking, "I get it, your mom is amazing." You don't even know.
Yet you do, because all mothers are amazing. They grow humans inside of their bodies. Inside their bodies, people! Then they get them out of their bodies (one way or another, all of which are astounding, incredible feats). Then they feed and sustain them (again, one way or another as nature and personal choice permit, all of which are commendable), and raise them and guide them and love them for life. It's the most terrifically hard job in the universe, but one that mothers sign up for every day of the rest of their lives.
So to take one day per year to say, "thank you mamas!?" I'll take it. Happy Mother's Day to my mama, your mama, me, you and all the mothers out there. You are so incredible and I love you.
And papas, you're up next.