Sunday, May 8, 2011


     It's an incredible thing to be a mother. In some ways, it's the most heart wrenching experience on earth. From the high hopes and physical strangeness of pregnancy with its fears and heartburn and labor pains, to the absolute terror of taking the newly born and entirely too tiny baby home. And that's just the merest of beginnings.
     I had never known frustration to the point of spontaneous explosion before having children, or the deep, deep, deep, protective love that brings tears to my eyes even today though my children are nearly adults; tears of such profound emotion that they rock my soul. Motherhood is a labor of love like no other, love from the deepest core of loving, love from the nerves and heart and intestines, love, sweat, and tears.
     Years of not knowing how I would get through the challenges of motherhood lie behind me, and before me as well: the whining and demands, the endless calling of my name, the sibling bickering, the bewitching dinner hour and the permanent end of afternoon napping which I thought might be my end as well... and then to have them turn around and hate me in adolescence, after all of my efforts, and all of my outpouring of love and attention and affection and patience and comforting and encouragement. And then we have grown beyond that too. I have had to let go and let them grow up without my constant attention. I have had to trust them and watch them make mistakes, and just be here, ready, available, always willing to show up; no longer imposing or instructing, but present: ever present.
     I have twins. Sienna and Nick are 16, and they are beautiful. When I think of how beautiful, and all we have been through together, I cry again, sweet tears from strong loving, and that I should be so blessed to be able to call these fine young strapping people my children, to have the honor of being their Mom. It almost feels like too much. The truth is that they have taught me volumes about myself, and continue to, and I am grateful to them forever for showing up for me. Though I couldn't have said that in just that way when they were little and I was strung out from young motherhood, it is unquestionably true for me today.
     And there's my mother as well, who teaches me in different ways, and the mothering of myself. I'm grateful for all of it, especially today. It's an endless journey of growing up, and what matters most. The lessons may not come in the style of Norman Rockwell. The mother relationship is often more challenging than any other, but if we accept it as it is, with all of its joys and sorrows, and all the ways it wrenches at our hearts, we can be glad today for the gift of being born, and the blessing of being mothers and having mothers, such as they may be.

I honor motherhood today, and the gift of life, and I am willing to accept all of the ways it wrenches at my heart and feel grateful for every part of the experience.