I’m a mom and Sunday is Mother’s Day so I’ve been reflecting on this whole motherhood deal. Many of my friends in real life and on Facebook share their feelings of inadequacies and parenting fails on a regular basis, but especially so at this time of year. Every time I read the story of how they think they wronged their kids, I cringe. I’m as guilty as anyone of all of their transgressions and more, but I’m not going to tell you what a rotten mom I’ve been at times to make you feel better. I want you to feel better all on your own.
Motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down. The first time your child is in your arms, whether it’s when they’re newborn and still juicy from birth, or if they’re ten years old and fresh off a plane, your heart seems to recognize that this is your kid. And it grows. It grows a lot. Think the Grinch, when his heart expanded in his chest until it burst through with a BOING! That’s how motherhood hits you.
And then, your heart is attached to that person so that no matter where he or she goes, the most vulnerable part of you follows, roaming the Earth. My mother used to say that in her mind she was clinging to the roof of my car, hair streaming behind her, every time I left to go back to college.
I get that now.
Maybe that’s why I write about birth in my Sweet Town books. Ladies fall pregnant (I love that expression) and have babies and a midwife attends their births. I think that back in 1879 it was no more or less a challenge and reward as it is now to be a mother. My ladies, like Lucy, such a diminutive woman and yet she births her children with no problem, or Emma who’s heart is big enough to mother children she didn’t grow under her heart, or Mika who faces her fears during her pregnancy; these women are no different than you or me.
A friend once said, after reading my latest book, “So. Many. Babies.”
We are human. We’re going to get mad and make mistakes and look back and cry that we didn’t do things differently. Our kids are going to throw that shizz up in our faces and then we’re going to cry more. So what if you accidentally filled up your son’s water glass with hot water that time he was sick. Forget about the time you fed your kids cookies for dinner. I want you to recall your heroic moments. Walking a colicky baby at midnight. Sewing a costume for a church play. Reading a favorite book for the thousandth time. You’re rocking this motherhood thing.
I know from the letters you write me that you all have “so many babies” so from the bottom of my heart I wish each of you a very Happy Mother’s Day.