During my first few years as a mother, I had high expectations for how my Mother’s Day should go. A special breakfast, being waited on all day, handmade cards from the kids, and simply relaxing were tops on my list. Of course, with two boys 18 months apart, that was hardly a reality. Can you believe, that even on Mother’s Day, kids still need to be fed, bathed, played with, and put to bed? The nerve. Don’t they know it’s Mother’s Day?
Over the years, as the boys have grown, the day has evolved into a family day, where the four of us try to do something together. I have discarded my fairy tale ideas of what Mother’s Day should be, and have passionately embraced the reality and authentic beauty it has become. It is a day where I am no longer looking for the perfect showcase or the greatest gift, but basking in the imperfect glow of our family. I have become simply grateful. Shhh….don’t tell my husband or boys that!
I stand back now as we approach another Mother’s Day and look around me at all the women in my life. I see the friends, aunts, sisters, cousins, sisters-in-law, mothers, grandmothers who have shaped and nurtured the kind of person and mother I am today. I am in awe of the collective experiences these women share. These women have shown me what it means to be a great mom and have continuously communicated that I am one – even when I’m doubting myself. They have shown their love and joy throughout the pregnancies and births of my two sons, and cared for and patiently held my hand through the pregnancies that were lost.
They have picked up kids when I thought I’d lose it, and fed us dinner during the countless evenings that I could not even fathom making a meal. They have listened and supported me as I questioned: “Am I doing enough for my boys?”, “Am I making the right choices for them?”, and “Are they going to be okay?”. They have stood witness to countless successes and failures of me as a mom, always loving me along the way. They have also cheered for my boys during their life victories, and showered them with encouragement at their failures or mistakes. They have taught me and shown me so many great ways to parent, and constantly helped me see that no mom is perfect, and that we are all struggling and striving to be better – every day.
The most amazing thing to me in all of this, is that these women have given so much of themselves to me while simultaneously managing their own struggles in parenting. They too have experienced the loss, death, anguish, joy, anxiety, pride and perpetual roller coaster that is motherhood. I have come now to the place where I realize that Mother’s Day is not about me. It is about praising and celebrating one another, and bathing in the overwhelming gratitude that I have for these women in my life. The women who make it possible to be the best mother I can be.