Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Many Looks of Motherhood

my husband and i received a very thoughtful "parents-to-be" card last week congratulating us on miles and telling us how we're going to be such great parents. really very thoughtful and loving. however, as with almost everything in life these days, reading that was very bittersweet. the words "parents-to-be" and "going to be" hit me a little sourly and i actually felt quite hurt.

what about noah? what about isaac? aren't we already parents?

it's frustrating that sometimes in this world, if something or someone doesn't look or act like the "normal" version, they are discounted altogether. or at least it feels like that sometimes.

recently i was sipping lemonade ice teas with one of my favorite people, who i look up to very much. we were discussing loss and life and fear and love. and then, near the end of the conversation, kind of out of the blue, she said,

"i hope you know, you are a really good mom."

like water to a sun-scorched land. it overwhelmed me and i cried.

i don't know why affirmation is so powerful.

actually i do know why. it's bearing witness to the existence of noah, isaac and miles, and my role in their lives. and that's like getting a shock of love right into my heart, speaking directly to my heart's deepest desire. and so often i feel like, because i drive around a car without a car seat and don't have sports schedules to juggle, i'm forgotten altogether as a mom.

just because you don't see my children, does not mean they aren't there.

all i've ever wanted my entire life was to be a mom. ever since i knew what a mom was, i wanted to be one. it's why i majored in elementary education. it was as close to majoring in "motherhood" as anything else. everything in my being, the way i'm built, is designed to mother.

at some point in college i overheard a good friend of mine talking about me to someone else and said, "she could fail at everything in her entire life, but, to her, if she succeeded at being a mom, her life would be a success."

that became my life's motto.

and although my vision and idea of what i thought becoming a mom would look like isn't anything like i had imagined, my dream still came true. i am a mom.

and to the single mother who lost her husband and is raising children on her own,
to the mother who has opened her home to foster children,
to the woman who fell in love with another woman and their children get two moms,
to the mom with 2.5 children who drives a minivan,
to the 'young' mom who's been a mom for 80 minutes,
to the 'seasoned' mom who's been a mom for 80 years,
to the working outside of the home full-time mom,
to the mother who continues to be a mom even after her child is no longer on earth,
to the stand-in-mother, mothering the friends of her children,
to the grandma who is a mother to her child's children,
to the woman who, out of love, made an adoption plan for her child,
to the woman mentoring young adults at her church,
to the high school volunteer mothering all her 9th grade girls,
to the elementary school teacher caring for herds of young children,
to the mother of adopted children who look nothing like her,
to the mother of biological children who look just like her,
and i could go on and on...

to all of you. happy mother's day. the world is a better place because of you.
let me rephrase that. because of us.

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