This is my mother:
I feel heavy with love for her always. But specifically for the last couple days in preparation for Mother’s Day.
The way she was…
The things I don’t remember but see in pictures…they way she made me shine. The way she wore hip, plaid bell-bottoms. The way her smile and goodness reflected from her own mother’s smile and goodness:
See them both in that picture above? I can almost see her mother’s smile even though her back is to the camera on the right on that picture above. And I can see my mother’s smile even though it’s fully enveloped into mine. I feel humbled to have their blood in my veins.
Although I don’t remember these things, I can almost feel the way she held me close:
I have felt heavy with love for other things I do remember.
How she managed the masses of kids coming and going in a house bursting with activity.
How she talked on that corded phone plugged into the wall, her voice loving and full of excitement.
The purple quilted bathrobe she wore on cold mornings.
The way her voice welled up with emotion during family testimony meetings.
They way she studied Spanish with us that summer we lived in Mexico.
…and took us to art museums, her eyes welling up at the emotion one painting can portray.
Her soft, velvety voice reading us The Education of Little Tree around our campfire in Oregon.
I knew, even then, that she was indispensable. The glue that held us all together.
(I think she also taught me to have a good attitude…that up there is my journal entry from when we camped for a month in the rural mountains of Oregon on a “pretty good day”…ha! …for more information on that crazy trip, click HERE.)
A presence that I knew, without a doubt, loved me. Unconditionally.
The teaching moments where she not only taught me, but huge auditoriums of women. Women coming up after Time Out for Women in tears because she changed their lives with something she wrote in her books. Or the way she she made them feel “in the trenches” right there with them.
The way she mother’s her grandchildren:
The way she unassumingly challenges us and leads us yet makes us all feel like we’re the best things that ever walked the earth.
I’ve been thinking heavy about my mother-in-law as well.
The way she raised my husband to be the perfect match for me.
The way the twinkle in her eye has transferred itself perfectly to the eyes of each of my children.
The day she came and rubbed my feet when I was so sick with Valley Fever a few years back:
The way she continues to mother to the next generations…
…so full of that same twinkle, watching it reflect back to her.
I feel heavy with love for Abby’s mother:
For the way she has raised her daughter so perfectly suited for my son.
For the way we get to intertwine our families so uniquely. For the way she now mothers my son, and has enveloped him into the very heart of their family.
Today I am heavy with gratitude for the motherhood journey. For the highs and lows that make it a journey: the highs that make it magical, the lows that make it tangible and real. For the act of motherhood. Motherhood in every shape and form.
Mothers who are overwhelmed with continual interruptions, wondering if they can make it through one more afternoon of Legos strewn across the floor and droopy eyes from lack of sleep. (My favorite quote about interruptions and my own experiences trying to cope in that stage of motherhood back HERE.https://71toes.com/2011/01/crazy-moments.html)
Mothers who yearn to feel the miracle of life flicker from within, to carry a child, and who cannot for a myriad of different reasons, but who mother all around them with love and compassion, powerfully building, sometimes in ways they may never realize.
Mothers who take on someone else’s child, by choice or by necessity. Mothers who surrender their child from a deep love to give someone else a yearned after opportunity. Mother’s who defy all odds, carving a new path for their families despite circumstances that may have the power to cripple them if they let them.
Young mothers in the thick of carpools and errands and a little dab of hair gel. (some of my fav. thoughts on that back HERE.)
Older mothers who have children leaving home, divvying out pieces of their hearts… off to college, the peace corps, a mission, marriage. The anguish that can come from letting that piece of your heart rip away, fly away, walk on it’s own, uprightly, live in a different realm to unlike it’s home. And then the beauty that comes from letting it happen.
Mothers who wring their hands in worry because of choices, theirs or those loved ones. Who wonder on the deep levels of life and how it will all work out in the end. Wondering where they went wrong and anguishing that perhaps they could have done better, often so unaware of the ripple effect of their goodness
All of these acts often go so unnoticed. Uncelebrated. They seem to slip and slide into oblivion.
But I believe that women, all of us, have motherhood power.
It is in our bones.
We are on a journey. A journey that looks vastly different than those next to us, or those we flip through on social media. Our journey is our own. We can take it and mold it and prune it in ways that are uniquely beautiful. Especially if we don’t compare. And even more especially as we reach Up for help from above.
Sometimes the journey will beautifully breathtaking, a cooing bright-eyed baby’s first smile, a triumphant teenager, team work well done. Other times it will take an ugly turn, mired with brambles and tears.
Darkness closing in.
But if we step back just long enough to take a breath, we will notice that the dark parts are what give beautiful contrast to the light.
The dark parts of the journey actually make the light ones visible. That’s what the journey is all about.
Happy Mother’s Day to all women.
May we see the light in our own journeys, from those who have mothered us to the way we mother, and celebrate that today.