If there is one thing I know, it is that my life has been mended, shaped, bent, and woven by some of the finest and bravest women I could have ever imagined. There have been and continue to be the most wonderful men too, yes, but the women in my life have filled a very special, rich space. I feel so supremely blessed, almost all of the time, to know that I have been provided with an army of strong female hands and hearts to love me in all of the unspoken ways I need. It’s its own kind of madness, I tell you, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m old enough and wise enough to recognize the gift I’ve been given.
Many of these women that fill my life are mothers. Some are mothers in the traditional sense and some are mothers in the spiritual sense. Some have birthed tiny bodies, filled with goo, and some have been bound to their children in the deepest parts of their hearts, though they may not have physically created them. Some have lost children, and in turn, have had their hearts deeply broken, and some are continuing to fight for the privilege to bear witness to the life of a child, in any way possible. And though I am not a mother, I’ve been surrounded by enough of them to understand, if only a very tiny bit, the underlying entirety of what the role entails. It seems as though it fills up every inch of these women. It takes root in every cell, every breath, and every thought. It grows and it reaches until it unfurls with precious and powerful grace. The mothers I’ve known - the ones of all shape and form- seem to hum along in a way that resonates from the deepest parts of them. They are alive and singing a different kind of melody, and I (and you!) get to witness this magical song over and over again.
For these reasons, and a million others, I truly love that today is Mother's Day and that I get to call my mom and tell her over and over again how much I love her (because I really, really do). You might do the same, and you might not, depending on your circumstance. I know I’m one of the fortunate ones and I don’t take that for granted. I love that I get to celebrate her and all of the ways she has contributed to who my sister and I are today. I know we are the very luckiest.
But you know what I also love about Mother's Day? I love that I get to thank all of the others who have been a part of the village that has raised and challenged me - my precious aunts, my hysterical cousins, my favorite teachers, and my brave co-workers. I love that I can send big ol’ heart-hugs to my best friends’ moms and grandmothers, sisters and neighbors. I love that I get to acknowledge the words that have been said, the encouragements that have been given, the hours that have been spent, and the influence of all of these things. And I love that l can do my best to reach out to each of my lovely, tired, worn-down friends with small children and big children and with no children at all, and remind them of how important they are. I can share with them that I’ve witnessed their courage and have taken note of their sacrifices. I can tell them that I’m paying attention and that I’m learning from their successes. And then I can remind them of how much I love them, and that I’m celebrating their big, beautiful mishaps. Because if it takes a village to raise a little girl, it takes an even bigger village to raise a strong and humble woman. And I know I’ve had the best kind of village, filled with some of the wisest, funniest, and loveliest souls a thirty-three year old sometimes-cynic like myself could ask for. It's taken all kinds of "mothers" to keep me from the worst parts of myself and to remind me of the beauty that lies within. And each of these women - the young and the old - have helped to pave and ease the way for me.
I really hope I get to be a mom to my own child some day. What a privilege that would be. But, if not, I can honestly say that I am supremely thankful that I've had the opportunity to be a part of a rowdy village of women that can continue to mend and raise up a generation who will love and encourage one another with transparency and compassion. These women have taught me so much, just by allowing me to be a part of their lovely and often messy lives. What a gift and what a journey.
Happy Mother's Day, indeed.