(Shoot I meant to publish this long ago, but here you go, better late than never.)
I remember vividly one day when Max was a toddler and he fell.  
Hard, right on the cement.
And I was surprised because I actually felt his pain.  
It wasn’t just in my heart because I ached for him.  No.  It was a physical pain that pulsed right through me the moment he hit the pavement.
I marveled that I was interconnected with that child of mine in such a way that I had never been with anyone before.  Because I was his mother.
There have been many times I have felt that pain with each of my children since that day so long ago.  I’ve felt the same interconnected joy with them just as I have felt the pain.  Highs and lows.  And each time, those tentacles of motherhood wrap themselves ever more passionately around my heart. 
My friend sent me this pic. the other day:

I loved it.

It was especially perfect for me that day since I was trying to work through some very sad news and sooth one daughter, work out an aggressive issue with another, trying to put on a smile for yet another who has hit a little road-block…and those problems, as they come in waves through life, big or little, make me fiercely more in love with these children of mine.

And in love with the fact that I get to be the one they call “mom.”

All those issues make me ever more thankful, a thousand times over, for the woman I call “Mom.”

And the one Dave calls “Mom” as well…and now I get to too.

And for all the pain and endurance it took (and still takes) for them to mother.  I think of them feeling that same pain, and also joy for each one of their nine children and I am baffled and in awe.

But mostly just as grateful as can be.

For them.

They each were extraordinary in they way they mothered, and their examples sing to me often as I grapple with my own mothering journey.

Sometimes it feels ominous, this motherhood thing, especially on a day where we don’t feel like we’re living up to the task that we call motherhood in one way or another.

But my friend posted this the other day and I realized it’s ok to be okay 🙂

We just have to do the best we can.
I’m just so very grateful for a day to reflect on the joy and pain that comes from the tremendous job of nurturing, whether is is for biological children or not.  I’m so grateful for those who selflessly serve and mother all those around them, and lift where they stand.  Because that’s what motherhood is all about.
I’m grateful to be among those who “mother” in any way it’s done.  And also to be the recipient of the “mothering” of so many.  From friends to in-laws to church teachers, to that sweet lady who let me go first at the grocery store the other day, to those who have nurtured my children through thick and thin.  It’s all nurturing, and it’s all needed…to do the mothering and to be mothered, and I’m just so grateful for a day to ponder the depth and breadth of all this mothering business.

Happy day of Mothering!


  1. Thank you Shawni! I needed this today. Feeling barely "okayest" as I navigate challenges with my children, not knowing all the answers or any answers at all, sometimes, just wanting to make everything right for them, yet knowing I can't! It is scary for sure. I feel inadequate sometimes, but so incredibly grateful to be on this journey❤️

  2. Good Grief! Where did you find that first picture of us on my mom's couch? I have never seen that! What was I thinking? LOL! Thanks for your kind words and for the OK thought! I was just okay a lot of days and a pretty good witch on others. Thanks for forgiving me for all that! LOVE YOU!

  3. Hi,
    I love your blog, family and church life so much! You truly are an inspiration to me. There was something I wanted to quote that you wrote in the entry above. Are you okay with someone sharing something you have written? If so, do you want 71 Toes to be credited or your 1st and last name?


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