Sunday, May 13, 2012

Motherhood Is

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.

And I know that there are some amazing women out there that I know that don't yet have children that want them, or that perhaps can't have children.  But I think that, as women, we are all mothers.  We all have the ability to love and nurture others, even if my some unfortunate means they cannot be our own.  As women we can nurture and encourage growth out of not just our children, but out of each other. 

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.


Liz said...

This was beautifully put. When I was young and sick I never wanted children, the thought alone scared me, but as Ive grown I have come to really want children. Not just my own, but I want to adopt. I love how you said that you chose motherhood because motherhood is wonderful gift not a burden.

Dianne said...

A couple of observations. Yes, your mother is a Saint. And in her defense, we all looked pretty bad in the 80's. My hair was the size of a (not so small) country.

And yes, motherhood is Grand. Happy Mother's Day.

brie said...

Dianne, I think the 80's was just a bad decade for hair. REALLY bad.

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Beautiful tribute to your mom and to other women out there. Anyone who could think of motherhood as a consolation prize clearly doesn't understand the beautiful GIFT that it is. I'm so glad you are using that voice of yours to tell people it's priceless. I love charging off into the world with ambition and career-minded dreams, but I'd take the precious gift of motherhood over anything else. Because I have been unable to be a mother and cried many a bitter tear over infertility these last few years, I deeply appreciate you wishing a happy mom's day to all the ladies out there who nurture others. It makes my jaw drop to hear people talk about motherhood as something people have done or succumbed to because they gave up on bigger dreams. I think to myself about the fact that I'd give my right arm to be a momma and shake my head that they are too misguided to see what a job and blessing it is to be lucky enough to be a mother. You do your momma job well and your kids are lucky to have you.

po said...

I don't even have one kid and I barely have the time and energy to get through the day, your mom must be incredible! As are all mothers who manage to do what they do.

CH said...

i love this post. like arielle, i believe those who consider motherhood a consolation prize, truly do not understand what a gift it is.
i love caring for my students, and making them know they are important and cared for - but children of my own is really what i want. i would give up teaching in a heartbeat for a baby. hopefully someday soon.
your acknowledgement of all women was really heartfelt, so thank you.

your children continue to be beautiful!

Penny said...

well. A couple of more observations: I am most definitely not a Saint...Just a woman that once she got into it had to stick with it until the Job was done. And the job really does not end when the child is 18 or so...we continue to have meaning and impact in our childrens lives and that is satisfying and makes for an excellent Mothers Day. Thank you my dear for those sweet words. It means a lot! love you

bri said...

I love this Brie! Happy mothers day! Ur a Fab mama!!!

emo said...

Beautiful post! That's all I have to say... and you look beautiful as well as the kids. :)