Image of a woman holding a child with flowers in her hands

An Ode to All Mothers

As I reflect on motherhood this year, it strikes me what an identity shaping word it is: the language of 'mother' is so universal and inclusive; as inclusive as birth and death. If we aren't one, we've at least got one, or had one. 


I read a beautiful book this year called "Rewilding Motherhood." I expected it to be a parenting book, and rather, it was a book redefining motherhood—an invitation back to ourselves as whole people and mothers.


My friend used to tease me before I had kids, that I became a plant person because I was just dying to mother something. My daughters are now six and eight, and it’s really starting to seem like I'm done having children, at least until they have partners or I'm convinced to adopt some other being running around in my vicinity. I've been almost ready to give my husband the 'go-ahead' on a vasectomy. In some ways, I've been mourning this for years. Two, though. That's my number. Is two enough? But I'm so immensely grateful for the two whole beings that I get to mother. 


We've had some wins this year. My littlest learned to swim, which is a beach time game-changer. I used to be jealous of the mom in the kids book Olivia, who could READ while her (I'm guessing) three and five-ish-year-old played on the beach. Just reading! While drowning is at stake! My oldest now reads chapter books at bedtime, and as an avid reader myself, it's fun to enjoy this mutual hobby; my littlest is reading a few of the words now, too. They still make me sweet cards and let me kiss them goodbye at school. The oldest is starting to accept maybe some of the little green things in the food, as long as there are no visible or discernable onions. And in those few moments, I think to myself, I'm enjoying this.


One of my friends, who struggled with infertility for years, is pregnant with her second! My sister still struggles with all the appointments and the bad news of getting her period again and again each month. I watch my friends with infants. Oh yeah—the feeding and sleeping schedule used to be literally everything. And I've got others with four whole beings to manage. That's mine, doubled. Double whining. Double giggling. I see another friend who's a passionate and invested new stepmom, (a damn good one) and all of those unique challenges. Motherhood. What a glorious, infuriating, mind-numbing, and delightful gift.  


I still mourn my own mother's death—it was 18 years ago this month. A little over a year ago, I lost my mom's best friend, sort of a stand-in mom for me, and my child's namesake. I used to text "thinking of you" on Mother's Day to all my friends who'd lost their moms. Now that I'm older, the list is too long. And maybe now I'd send that text to the friend struggling with infertility, the one who lost a pregnancy, the one who's doing it alone. 


So with all these mixed stories and feelings, we really must celebrate. Gold stars for everyone who is, who's hoped to be, and who's doing their best. Happy Mother's Day, moms—now I have some flowers to arrange!

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