When my best friend was pregnant with my goddaughter, Mia, she asked me what it meant to me to be a mother. 13 years later, we are spending Mother's Day together, during a pandemic, with my 3 children, her beautiful daughter, her husband, and the grief of having both since lost our own mothers.
I just couldn't help but post my answer to her those many years ago. My kids are all adults and living on their own, but the words still ring as true today as they did in 2008.
Recently you asked me what it meant to me to be a mother, and quite frankly… I shelved the question for a few days because I had NO IDEA how to answer in a manner that didn't sound cynical. Mom? Hmmm… Add the word 'single' and you have what I am: "Single Mom." What does this mean? Well, it means you work too much. Have to take a minute… or an hour… to remember at least ONE of your kid's 13 teacher's names. The stress of 'provider' often trumps the necessary 'caregiver' role. Pity parties in the form of bottles of wine and/or 'avoid and deny' moments often sabotage time that should technically have been deemed as quality. The desire to succeed at ushering healthy young men and women into an adult world dangerously entangled with the instinct to keep the individual that is ME recognizable, often leads to poor decisions that allow me to justify the agenda necessary to maintain my independence as a single, professional woman.
Being a mom is lonely and often thankless. Prefacing Mom with the word 'Single' offers an open invitation to a steady stream of well meant and constructive criticism of your maternal practices from so many people in several degrees of friendship and family. All with pure intent and yet, all rooted in a reality so distant from my own. Everyone having their own opinion. The paternal void not only permitting, but warranting, their critical counsel.
Then… every once in a while, in the midst of the unrelenting criticism and daily failure, I find myself in the kitchen with my nearly 6 ft teenagers… talking. Talking school, women, politics, family, the gays, money, dinner, Xbox… doesn't matter. It's their life and my own momentarily morphing into one. Time skips a beat as I chuckle with my daughter… lost completely in her fabulous smile. I unintentionally stumble upon a glimpse of the adult they will be. And the glimpse is free of bigotry, racism, and selfishness. Granted these fleeting moments are short and sweet, to say the least; However, there is an unbelievable pride that swells. Somehow KNOWING, in part, these qualities were instilled by me. Snapshots of ambition, gentleness, humor, honesty, integrity, and strength that I KNOW, unequivocally, are a direct result of my flawed influence, training, and nurturing.
These moments are when "the Mom" comes to life and I realize that no matter how unforgiving and difficult the road may be… I would not have chosen another. Being a mother is wonderful, heart wrenching, intolerable, fulfilling, restless, solid, and neglectful… and yet, somehow, it's simply everything that matters. Being a mother had my broken spirit wrapped up in the arms of my son 2 weeks ago. That same rejuvenated spirit drives me thru the long days to secure our future and creates a divide
between myself and the crippling fear that is always lurking around nearly every turn.
What is the meaning of motherhood?
This picture speaks all the definition you need. The story of these 3 beautiful girls inspires all that makes a Mother: determination, compassion, love, mistakes, honesty, horrible judgment, tenderness, fear, forgiveness… This picture in a random nutshell embodies the sweetest thing we will ever experience in this lifetime: Being "the Mom."
Hope this answers your question, Moya…
You are so beautiful and I love you.
I have no recollection of what photo I included with this letter, but I thought this one would be the perfect tribute to Moya and the beautiful mother she has become.
This blog is a personal collection of my thoughts, wins, losses, memories, and crossroad moments. Almost all of which were hashed out around my kitchen counter and in my journals. If any of it resonates with you and you are ready to free-up the hidden badass you ARE right now, I can help. It’s time… Click the link and Let’s chat.