I don’t need a day like Mother’s Day to remind me of why I love being a mother. I don’t need a corporate sponsored, scheduled celebration time. I don’t need an arbitrary day of obligation to prove to me you’re glad I birthed you. What I do need is a quiet morning, the wind blowing through the trees outside my window, the chocolate brown sheets pulled softly against my skin, my favorite mug filled with warm French roast and my mind silent enough to drift back to all the moments that changed my life because of you—the moments that turned me sideways, pitched me forward and made me realize that being a mother has irrevocably shifted my spirit into another dimension.
From the first moments I felt you wiggle inside me, from your luminous eyes gazing up at me from my chest, from your tiny hands grasping for mine and your ethereal, miniature body nestled in slumber next to mine, I knew instantly that every day would be Mother’s Day.
In those first few years I learned, in the words of Anne Lamott, “that children fill the existential hollowness many people feel; that when we have children, we know they will need us, and maybe love us, but we don’t have a clue how hard it is going to be.” I experienced the joy and despair of motherhood as I watched you learn to climb the stairs, ride a bike, rip down a ski hill and fly over a vault. I realized that Mother’s Day was celebrated as much in the moments of ‘no’ as the moments of ‘yes,’ and that, as the sage Maya Angelou says, “Please—be their supporters, be their protectors and let them know that. That doesn’t mean that you indulge and condone mismanagement and bad action—but you can say, “I’m on your side. Now, this is not acceptable. And the reason it’s not acceptable is that you might get hurt in the management of the interaction. But I’m on your side—I want you to do well. I love you. That doesn’t mean I indulge you—I have sentimentality and it means I really love you and I want you to live a good life.” Oh, yes, my darlings, I really love you, and every day I am on your side.
And today, as I wait for your teenage bodies to wake, I fantasize about the Mother’s Day moments yet to come; the day I watch you accept your diploma, the day I hear the news you found your first job, the day you shout the words “We’re getting married” or “We’re having a baby”—those are the days I dream of, the days that bring motherhood full circle and explode my happiness into tiny, glittering shards as you step into the ecstasy that has become my every day, my Mother’s Day.