May 08, 2010

On Motherhood

This Mother's Day, perhaps more than any other Mother's Day up until now, I feel so fortunate to have my own mother, healthy, happy, and whole.  As I ponder our relationship and how close we are, I ponder too the gift of motherhood.

Women find a more profound appreciation for their mothers and motherhood in general when they become mothers themselves.  Of course, there are always debates about this (and I won't debate the issue here), but only women who have chosen motherhood know the real answer.

As I watch my sons grow into fine young men and my baby son grow into a precocious toddler, I sit in awe of how miraculous they all are, and that the miracle began right inside my own body.  I vividly remember all three pregnancies, and I am incredulous when I hear mothers say, "Oh, you don't remember the pain of labor and deliver."  Yet, I do remember all three, death defying labor and deliveries.  But, I guess too, the pain has made me cherish the lives it yielded that much more.

Motherhood has also been the most difficult, low-paying, incredibly rewarding, 24/7 job I have ever had or will ever have.  Mothers are driven by an impulse greater than themselves to protect, nurture, and guide their children against all odds.  I am struck by the power of motherhood as well.  Mothers are in the business of nation building.  They shape society one child at a time, one household at a time.  Mothers teach their children how to do all of the minutia that people take for granted everyday - things like eating with a spoon, brushing one's teeth, putting on one's own clothes, "pee peeing in the potty," reading, writing, telling time, adding, subtracting, doing long division (ugh!), and the list is endless.  Of course fathers do lots of teaching and so do teachers.  However, mothers can forever recall the day their child learned to tie his shoes and the moment their child learned to drink from a cup.  Perhaps most importantly though, mothers inculcate values - mothers perpetuate ideology.

So, this year, I will hug my mother tighter and tell her how very much I love and appreciate her, because I know that there are daughters who can't or wont' be able to do so this year.  My mother was my first teacher.  She has taught me who and how to be, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Mother's Day