It is a beautiful, warm summer morning. The doves are cooing, the geese honking, the rooster crowing. The locust trees are in full bloom, their purple scent wafting across the yard and fields and filling me up. The mama rabbits are suckling their babies. The mama dove sits placidly on her nest. The mama goose leads her gosling around the pond.
This mama is quietly pondering. Her babies are still abed, dreaming of how to spend this summer day. There will be plenty of laughter (there always is), a few squabbles (there always are), and movement, movement, movement. But right now, before the sun fully tops the trees, they are quiet and still. And I cannot stop thinking, with Mother’s Day coming up, about how blessed I am.
See, I get to watch these two amazing beings grow, hopefully into young men as wonderful as Big, who see the world through bright eyes, develop strong friendships, face their responsibilities, and love with abandon. I have gotten to be with them since their very conception. I knew their personalities before they were born. I was the first voice they heard, and the first person to hear their voices. I am the first person they come to in need, and the person who needs them more than anyone.
I love being a mother. I love the responsibility of it, the joy of it, the lessons I have learned from raising children. I love that I still get to see the world through a child’s eyes, and that I get to show the Littles the world through my eyes. There is nothing like the moment when Middle comes to me out of the blue and says, “Mama, I’m going to hug you.” At 12, he is bigger than me, so he has to warn me or he chances knocking me over. Or in the late evening, when all the chores are done and we sit down as a family and Littlest curls up beside me, his feet tucked under him, his legs curled up against mine. He doesn’t make a thing of it; he’s 10 and so maybe should have outgrown the habit by now. I marvel that he hasn’t, so I don’t make a thing of it, either. I just savor. I can’t get over the excitement of being their teacher, and how it is more fulfilling than any other job I’ve had. Sometimes I wish it would never end. I love that teaching is another role I get to play for them. Big came to visit yesterday, and I got to enjoy the closeness he and I have always shared. For the first 8 years of his life it was me and him against the world, and that bond is a very special one. He still talks to me like I am his friend as well as his mama. I still talk to him like he is my friend as well as my son. But now I get to enjoy the man he has become, which adds a new richness to my love for him.
Thinking about the things I enjoy about motherhood makes me think of my own mama. My mama is one amazing woman. The biggest lesson she taught me was that the world may fall apart around you, but you will come out okay as long as your kids know you love them. She was a single mama of three kids, and she worked hard to make sure we never realized how hard she had to work to keep us going. I swear, I was 12 years old before I realized we were poor. We were latch-key kids back when that was a thing, and it made the bond between my siblings and me strong enough that our friendships have withstood lots of hardships and disagreements. But I remember when mama would come home from work. She must have been exhausted but she didn’t even rest; she started dinner. And when it was done we sat at the table together and ate and talked about our days. She was genuinely interested in us, and we in her. I never doubted that my mama loved me more than the moon and the stars, or that she would do anything within her power to make me happy.
I don’t doubt it now. The most important thing to her, Ever, is that her kids know she loves them. And we do, Mama. We do.
So while I disagree with the whole Hallmark-ishness of it all, I’m glad there’s a day to celebrate motherhood. I’m glad to get the chance to tell my mama why I love her and to be reminded by my own kids why they love me. But mostly I’m glad for the chance to reflect on all the mamas I know, be they stay-at-homes, working mamas, or something in between (like my bff who rocks both motherhood and running her own business from home). I’m grateful for the chance to acknowledge all the mamas everywhere who work hard every single day.
Just to make sure their kids know, without doubt, that they love them.
Because, after all,