Dear P and M,
It’s often while I’m choring– vacuuming, sorting or folding laundry, staring into the depths of a toilet with scrubber in hand– that I have moments to think about things. Life, love, and family. And often when I have this time my thoughts turn to YOU.
I am really grateful to be your mother. I hope it shows in the way I look at you, the way I hug and hold you, the kisses– eskimo, butterfly, and otherwise– I give to you. The sacrifices I make for you.
I also hope that my love shows in the chores you’re asked to perform, the homework your are encouraged to finish, the extracurricular activities you are supported in. I also hope my love shows in the cooperation, kindness, empathy, consideration we advocate you offer toward each other and the outside world.
Becoming a mother was not an easy journey for me. I don’t say that in the sense that it was fraught with physical hardship, or that I didn’t want to be or become a mother, because I did. Maybe it is more aptly stated that it has taken me a LONG time to understand how to be a good mother– not only what that meant to me, but what it looked like to my heart– and that I am definitely still working on it. Always will be.
What I mean is that being a parent is a challenging endeavor, and that is putting it mildly, not matter what your situation. No matter how much you’ve desired to take on the role, or not. No matter how much you’ve dreamed about the prospect of children, or the joy you imagined they’d bring, or the path you thought you would take, or not. There is no playbook.
There is always this motion involved in mothering built into every learning capsule, every growing situation because of precisely that– YOU– you are always growing, changing, learning, morphing. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually you– the child– are always and forever becoming a new kind of thing, a new person. And yet, there are pieces of you that truly do stay the same. Those core individualities that make YOU like no one else who has lived or who will ever live. It is at once astounding and staggering.
The learning curve is one of the steepest I’ve encountered– both becoming a PERSON and becoming a MOTHER. But lingering on the challenge won’t carry you very far in any aspect of life, instead you have to seize the opportunity with your hands, your feet, and sometimes your teeth! It takes grit to shoulder the responsibility and then watch with incredulity as the thing that was once so daunting and worrisome turns into something so beautiful and fulfilling.
Motherhood was and is that work for me, the hardest, most challenging, most beautiful, most fulfilling work I’ve done. Because being your mom is the BEST thing I’ve ever done. It is the MOST important project I’ve ever set my will to, and it is the HIGHEST calling I’ve ever or will ever be given.
I wish I could share with you in some way the joy you bring to rise and bare in me. I guess in family life we share that joy by showing love to each other. In fact sometimes it’s nothing more than your smile, a hug from you at the end of a long day, your mastery of a skill, or your hard work and effort as you struggle to perfect anything– walking, biking, writing, skiing, kindness, care, politeness, conversation, friendship, love– that cause the uprising of that joy.
Joy like a wave so strong it washes me anew with the deepest gladness, so powerfully sweet and good that I can practically taste it. And listen, I realize that some of these lessons are LIFETIME ventures– lessons we are each learning over, and over, and over again– so there will be trips and spills, scars and pain.
I wish I could conjure up a spell every time I thought, “Wow, YOU are INCREDIBLE, my son.” And that the spell would give you my eyes, and ears, and thoughts, and heart for just a moment. To see what I see, and hear what I hear, and feel what I feel– my unequivocal, uncompromising love for YOU. Always.