I was hoping to post a picture or two of my mom and I and sadly, can't find any of the two of us together! So, I'll stick to words tonight:)
I think mothers are amazing. It's kind of funny to say that since I am a mother now and I struggle with thinking I am a good one. But maybe all mothers struggle sometimes. Wondering if her love is enough. If it covers enough hurt. If it strengthen and fortifies enough. If it's unconditional enough. If she did enough period.
I've learned about mothers in stages. First, as a child, receiving the love of my mom greedily. Taking for granted her loving hugs, gentle guidance, homemade cookies, the special memories she created. Just knowing she was my mom and she loved me. She was my safe place. She was mine. Mother.
Then, as a teenager, struggling through finding my own identity. An easy time to misunderstand a mother's constant love. To not be able to see it as clearly as you wrestle with the pains of growth and insecurity. A time when children often lash out in some way at the one person who is constantly on their side. Mother.
As a newly emerged young adult. Finding a new footing; coming from under the shelter of her love and into a new stage of mother-turning-friend. Seeking her guidance while trying to find my own way. Barely beginning to see the depths, the enormity of what her love and sacrifice covered in my childhood. Not even realizing that even then she was loving me enough to let me become a woman myself. Mother.
Then, meeting my mother-in-law and seeing another mother, who's love shaped her own sons, extend her love to cover me. A mother who loved her son so much, she had to let him go and trust me to love him, too. Mother.
Becoming a mother myself. And having that first inkling of what my mom felt for me when she first held me in her arms and as she watched me grow. That first understanding of what my mother-in-law meant when she said that having a child of your own fills you with such joy and such pain all at the same time. A tender, beautiful mother heart that is meant to be broken. Sometimes over and over again.
Throughout my almost 9 years as a mommy myself, I have slowly uncovered more of the depth and riches of a mother's love. I have seen more and more clearly how powerful, amazing and utterly life-changing it is. I begin to see that even as I understand more and more clearly as I age, I will never ever know how much she gave for me. How much she hurt for me. How much she prayed for me. How much she gave of herself for me.
How even now, with all of her children grown, she still loves. She still hurts, she still prays, she still gives. And she will never stop until she breathes her last breath.
Whether a mother is a great-grandmother, opening her arms even wider to encompass her children's children's children. Whether she is a grandmother, sharing her special love with the next little generation. Or she is still in the active, exhausting, exhilarating stage of mothering. She will never stop loving.
Even as it fills her heart, breaks her heart, mends her heart, empties her heart and fills it again. She'll do it. Over and over and over again. She's amazing. And she's mine. She's yours. She's mother, whether she's still on this earth or watching over you in heaven.
To my mom most of all. To my grandma. To my mother-in-love. Three women, whose mother hearts have shaped me, touched me and loved me. Happy Mother's Day.