I used to think Mother’s Day was a day strictly for my mother.
Then, when I got married, it was a day for my mom and mother-in-law.
And when I had two little boys of my own, it felt odd but also like I had “joined the club.”
Now I’m 34 and I’m absorbing the words of Brené Brown and Laura McKowen and Pema Chödrön and Holly Whitaker and Glennon Doyle and Emily Lynn Paulson and Elizabeth Gilbert and Laurie McAllister. I listen to their ideas, how they hold space for one another, and how well they mother one another and the world. Some of them are biological mothers and some of them are wisdom mothers and big picture mothers and some of them are all three.
These women, with their unique talents and boldly beautiful influences, have helped me realize this:
All women mother others.
Thank you to my one true and beautiful mother for serving as the body that grew me and birthed me, the one who roots for me and loves me.
To the mothering that happens on the periphery everywhere, thank you.
To the caregivers of our preschool babies, who mother our children every day after scrapes on the playground and tears during circle time.
To the second grade teacher who notices the pain in our eyes and does not ignore it.
To the sister who places their hands on our back and allows us to cry loudly when we suffer loss.
To the friend who will have the hard conversations.
To the college professors, who invite us into their home to throw bridal showers for students they barely know.
To the nurse hallway buddy, who points us to the break room to collect ourselves without saying a word, caring for our patients while we have a moment.
To the nurse educators who remember what it feels like to have both a broken back and a broken heart all at the same time.
To the physician who treats you as a true friend.
To the nurse practitioner who is your confidante, who can read you like a book and likes to read your books, too.
To the woman who sends you a card when you lose your dog of 13 years.
To the grandmother who used to write you letters and send them in the mail.
To the mother-in-law who blessed us with a wonderful partner.
To the woman who will share in the stories of pain that we are still processing.
To the aunt who points out the beauty in our surroundings.
To the grandmother who exemplifies the most pleasant manner in which to answer the telephone.
To the writer who bares her stories.
To the artist who dares to create.
To the woman who sees our fear for her pain and somehow finds it in herself to comfort us.
To the women who are sober.
To the women who are wondering if they want to be sober.
To the women who are not ignoring the ache inside themselves to contribute to the beauty and wholeness of the world.
To the women who are grateful for their current, but discontent in an unchanged future.
I lower my head in reverence to you all. You perform a mothering to the world that is unsurpassed in significance and value.
It is noticed, it is essential, and it will transform pain into meaning. Let us allow ourselves to feel all the emotions, use them, and inspire one another with our actions.
Happy Mother’s Day.