When I think about what a mother is, so many thoughts come to mind. As the mother of 9, I have found that each child brings their own personality to the table. Each child has their own gifts and talents and their own needs. Each child needs a different thing from their mother. It seems pretty obvious, but where it gets tricky is when the same person (mom) has to be so many different things to so many different people. It can feel overwhelming and frustrating, exhausting and impossible. So how can any of us do this mother thing?
Firsts things first… you need to realize who a mother is. It is not necessarily the person that gave birth to you. I can tell you from my own experience, the love that I feel for every one of my kids, regardless of whether I gave birth to them or not, is real. It is deep and it is life changing. As the adoptive mother to my oldest 3 kids, I have a special place in my heart for their other mom. She has gifted me with the most precious gift, her children. This is not something that I take for granted. I don’t ever forget the part that she has played in their lives, and my own life, for that matter. I have always tried to honor that. She was real. Her love was real… But so am I. I am their “real mom” too. The fact that I didn’t have the joy of carrying them or giving birth to them, doesn’t negate the reality of my role as their mom. They are mine and I am theirs.
Mothers can come in the shape of a grandmother, an aunt, cousin, sister or friend. Motherhood can come from a marriage, such as a step parent relationship. Mothers can be born through adoption and foster parenting. There isn’t a single definition that can accurately describe who a mother is. It is so much more than a title. The answer can be found in the heart. A mother has a special kind of heart. It grow and grows. With each child, the capacity to love is greater. It is kind of crazy.
Secondly…you can’t do this, at least not alone. Thankfully God will bless you with the grace to get through the difficult times. And their will definitely be difficult times, trust me. But you will get through it. Just pray, pray hard and hand it over to Him. And He has seen fit to give us several examples to look toward, when we need a role model. We have the saints. So many of them were mothers that exemplified a mother’s love in an extraordinary way. St. Gianna, St. Anne, St. Monica, St. Rita and St. Elizabeth, just to name a few. And of course the Mother of us all, the Blessed Mother Mary is always there. I know that in my own life, I pray to all of them frequently. It is nice to have some Saintly backup. But thankfully, I have also been blessed with an earthly mother that has given me many of the tools that I have needed to tend to my own family.
My mom always made things beautiful. When I was growing up, my dad was a school teacher and my mom stayed home to take care of us. We didn’t have a lot of money, but I was blissfully unaware of this. Our home was always clean and tidy and I remember my mom taking the extra time to make it beautiful as well. Our home wasn’t full of designer furniture, but my mom was always refinishing or repainting old furniture to give it a unique beauty and new life. We didn’t have high threadcount Egyptian cotton sheets, but we had soft worn sheets that smelled of the outside after hanging on the line all day. To this day, that scent is one of my favorites. One of my favorite childhood memories took place one morning. I came downtairs and walked into the freshly mopped kitchen. The morning light streamed in through the window, settling on the kitchen table, catching the light of a glass vase full of freshly cut lilacs. That memory is so vivid that I can practically smell the lilacs mixing with the scent of pine sol. This is just one example of how my mother loved to make a beautiful home for us. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a lot of money. We had a lot of love and that gave a shine to things that can’t be bought.
I try to do the same thing in our home. I want my kids to look back and remember our house as being a warm, comfortable, safe place. I want them to remember that I always went a little overboard with Christmas decorations, but it was beautiful and made Christmas magical. I want them to remember me sitting on our porch in my rocking chair reading a book, or enjoying a glass of wine while I watched them play. I want them to think of all of us sitting around the fire pit attempting to make the perfect smore while the marshmallows catch fire.
I want them to think back and realize that even when I was angry or disciplining them, it was because I loved them. Seriously. I know that parents say that all of the time, but it is the truth. My job as a mom is to bring my kids closer to God and to teach them to not be axe murderers or jerks. Some days this is easier than others. Some days it is a challenge to not murder someone myself. But refer back to grace. Thank you God for granting me grace…and wine. Happy Mother’s Day !!