My mom is a saint - I'm not sure how else to put it. What else would you call a mother who selflessly raised ten children? Crazy, maybe. But also a saint. :)
My twin brother and I were the youngest of ten kids. Life at home, growing up, was hectic. There were kids who needed to be shuttled to school or sporting events, someone always needed help with their homework, and there was always piles of laundry and dishes to do. And even though my mom was so busy and harried she could have screamed, she didn't. She did what she needed to do to get things done and help all the kids. And, most importantly, she let each and every one of us know that we were loved. That was more important than getting the dishes done.
At one point her life even got so busy that she literally didn't have time to do her hair. So what did she do? She chopped it all off and got a perm. A PERM. My mom had an afro. And, because I love her, I won't post pics, not on Mothers' Day. But man, that's love. Getting an afro for your kids, because you don't have time to tend to your long locks. I love you Mom, even though you had an afro and big plastic glasses back in the 80's and looked kind of scary. Even after that, I still love you. :)
I know what motherhood is all about, now that I have had children of my own. I know what it's like to love something so fiercely, and your heart swells because you literally had no idea you were capable of loving something as much as you do your child. Suddenly the idea of walking on water for them, dying for them, living for them - isn't so far-fetched. You know, once your child is placed in your arms, that the rest of your life belongs to them.
When I had Cade, I remember experiencing this love for the first time. I remember staring at him for hours, because I couldn't believe he was so perfect and SO MINE. I knew what love was.
And then when I got pregnant with Kendall, I remember the joy I felt, and the immediate love I felt for this tiny human being growing inside me. And then when she died, I remember holding my hands over my swelled belly and rocking back and forth, heaving great sobs of sorrow for this child I would never get to raise. I still get to love her, because even though she is not with me, she is still mine. She is real and she exists, just not in this world.
And then Mila. Mila helps define my whole existence, because I think, holy hot damn, I was put on this earth so that I could meet this little angel and raise her to be a kick ass woman. Motherhood is not a consolation prize. It is a career I chose, not by default, or because I'm not "smart" enough to have a real career. I CHOSE motherhood. Being a mama is a full-time job, but I love every minute of it. Sometimes it is thankless, and most days I am busy and harried and don't even have time to do my hair, (sorry Mom, I'll never stoop to the afro though) but it still makes me happier than anything. Walking into Mila's room in the morning to get her out of her crib after a long sleep thrills me. Seeing her beautiful smile, and her reaching her chubby little arms up to me, reaching for me, that's my pay. And that's all I need.
So this post today isn't really directed at mothers, at least not in the general way that we think of what a mother is. I think that a mother is so much more than cleaning up messy faces and giving baths and making sure our child's hair is combed before they trundle off to school. Motherhood is love, and nurturance, for everything, and for everyone.
So this post today goes out to all the women - not just "mothers" - out there. We rock.