Today is Mother’s Day. And before I go into all of the things I want to tell you about my own mother, I always want to make sure I acknowledge something first. Mother’s day is not always positive, happy or a celebration. For some, it is the reminder of that person they have lost, or the relationship they wish they would have had. For some, it is a reminder that they are not yet a mother, or were a mother, or are a bereaved mother. For some, it is a hope and a wish and heartache all rolled in one. As someone who has struggled with infertility, I can fully admit that mother’s day was, and sometimes still is, hard for me. So, I get it and I understand that it is not always happy. So, for those of you who find this day a challenge, I see you.
Yet, I also think it is important to note that this day also reminds me of how fortunate I am. How lucky I am to not only have grown up in a household that had a strong, loving mother, but that I am still and continue to be surrounded by lots of other women who are amazing mothers as well. My older sister. One of my best friends. My work colleagues. My childhood companions. My aunts. My late grandparents. The list goes on and on…
However, the person who has impacted me the most as a mom would be my own mom… the first and most important mom I know. And I am beyond proud to call her my mom.
My mom is a force to be reckoned with. She is strong willed and opinionated and resilient. As the youngest of twelve kids, in a family that would not have been described as wealthy in any capacity, my mom was a strong hold. As all of her siblings grew up, moved out and had their own families, mom continued to be present for her aging mother and father. This continued even after mom was older and had a family of her own. She was there when her father passed away. She was there when he mother got remarried and lost her second spouse. She was there when her mother needed to be placed in a nursing home, and continued to be there when she visited each week. And she was there when she lost her too. And that was just her parents.
Mom is there for those around her in a way that is not matched by most individuals. She is reliable, loyal and always available for a shoulder to lean on. Along with her parents, she was, and is, there for her siblings both emotionally and physically as they handle the tribulations of life and all it throws at us. She is there for those endless nieces and nephews through their own childhoods, new families and ongoing loss of their parents. She is there for those friends that she has known for forty years and the new ones she is just making. She is there for her work colleagues she has had over the last 35 years she has worked (congrats on retiring mom!). She is there for her husband of over thirty years and helped him grow to be the man he is today and the father he was to us girls. She was there for all of his family as well. She was there for my sisters, and now my nieces. But, most important of all, she is there for me.
She was there for me when I was learning to walk, learning to talk and building up the personality that I have to do this day. She taught me how to stand up for myself but also how to be kind. She showed me what it means to be independent but also how to create close and lasting relationships. She patched up my skinned knees, held my hand as I needed stiches and helped me navigate the challenges of childhood. She helped me learn to read, and then continued to foster that love by buying me all the books I wanted. She showed me that bullies did not and would not define me and that I should stick up for my friends. She showed me that words matter and that I need to be careful how I treat people, even people I don’t like. And she showed me that I was strong. That I could do whatever I put my mind to, and that she would be behind me all the way. She was there to show me how to grow up feeling loved and safe. And then she was there as I flew the nest.
She was there when I got my first apartment on my own, and was there when I needed to move home when I couldn’t keep affording it. She was there when I fell in love, got married and moved away. She was there when I struggled, when I excelled and when I was just trying to get by. She was there when my husband was unwell, and she was there when I didn’t even have the space to be there for myself. And she taught me the power of forgiveness. That people in my life were going to hurt me, and that forgiveness is the best way to move past hard things in my life. Not to forget, but to forgive. She taught me grace.
Then she showed me that she would support me regardless. She was there when I bought my first home, and she was there to help me when I sold it. She was there when I tried to get pregnant, and was there when I couldn’t. She was there when I decided to leave my husband and was there when I decided to uproot my life but stay living away. Even though she was struggling alongside me, wishing I had made different choices, she loved me anyway. She taught me the important of hope. That things do get better and if I let go and let God, things will work out in the end.
My mom helped me grow and learn and figure out who I want to be. She loved me, and my sisters, in a way that allowed us to try things out, see what worked and was there to catch us when they didn’t. She taught us that we could do anything and to not let anything stand in our way. To not let anyone tell us we weren’t as good, or strong, or capable as the men in our lives. That we could be fierce and independent and resilient too, just like her.
My mom is an amazing woman. And as we all take a moment to recognize all those moms out there, regardless of where they are in their journey, I will fully be taking some time to thank mine.
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