Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! As my daughter screamed “Mama!” and I climbed into her bed to comfort her until she fell asleep, I thought about who and what we are celebrating on Mother’s Day. Mother as a noun is “a woman in relation to their child,” but I know there are a lot of people who, based on that definition, aren’t celebrating their mother. Mother as a verb is “to bring up with care and affection.” I think that is what we are celebrating on Mother’s Day.
We are celebrating those who raised us with care and affection. For some of us we may be lucky enough to be celebrating our own mothers and grandmothers. For others, although you may not be celebrating your own mother, you are celebrating the person in your life who did show you all the love and affection any mother could. Maybe it was an aunt, friend, teacher, coach, sister, or neighbor. Hopefully we all have someone we can celebrate who cared for and protected us–who mothered us.
We should celebrate the times when we were rocked and rocked to calm a tantrum or an irrational, but oh-so-real fear; when we were able to run into her room in the middle of the night, jump into her bed, and instantly feel safe and sound.
Celebrate walks to the parks and playing store in the tree trunk along the way.
We should celebrate the times when special treatment was given for a day home sick from school. Maybe it was a trip to Blockbuster Video or her old stamp collection being brought out so you could look at them one by one while you watched Charade with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant.
Celebrate that she talked to you about the birds and the bees, but kept it brief.
We should celebrate after school pick-ups with french fries waiting on your seat, Dairy Queen trips, and fast food playground outings.
We should celebrate the times she was willing to call another parent and tell them what a bully their child was, but didn’t because you needed to learn how to navigate relationships.
Celebrate Christmas mornings.
Celebrate the times which, looking back now, you know must have been so hard for her, and yet you never felt any less care and affection.
Celebrate the times she would ask you incessantly to do a back handspring no matter the location or occasion because she was so proud of you.
Celebrate swim, dance, gymnastics, piano, cooking, soccer, karate, and a plethora of other lessons.
Celebrate the times you would have absolute meltdowns from homework, lack of sleep, and a messy room, and she would drop everything to help you clean your room and type out your handwritten essay for you.
Celebrate the times you had to quit your first job and you were so incredibly nervous that she said she would wait in the parking lot for you just so you would know that she was close by to help you to feel brave.
Celebrate the times she was there to listen to you about new boyfriends or patiently waited for you to talk about breakups. For the trust she had in you and for not reading your journal.
Celebrate her for instilling a love of reading in you because of all the books you read together and all of the books you observed her read; for teaching you to never return a book to the library until after you were done writing your essay.
Celebrate her becoming a Gaga and getting time off work and staying with you to help take care of you, your newborn, and toddler.
These are just a few of the core memories I have from being mothered by my wonderful mother, but the list could go on for years–not only about my own mama, but also about all the other amazing women who showed me true care and affection. On this Mother’s Day I hope you are able to pay tribute to the beautiful mothers in your own life by remembering all the truly miraculous things they have done for us.