I have tried to articulate some of my deepest gratitude to the mother figures in our world – every one of you deserves love and respect returned to you in a demonstration of thanks for all that you have given to your people.
There are so many versions of a ‘mother’. There is the mother-to-be. The new mother. The adoptive mother. The mother of two, three, four or more. Then there is the mother that never got to be. The mother that couldn’t stay. The foster mother. The mother who lost their little ones, before or after hearing their first cry. The mother that could never be named, but was present how she could be. The mother that was not allowed to be a mother. The mother who hasn’t had her time yet, but will take that test tomorrow, hope in her heart and tears in her eyes… This is for all of you.
‘Mother’ is this giant concept that is more an emotive response than a title.
Motherhood is entirely selfless. You hear that all of the time, but when you see it, and I mean really see it, it is flooring. More than giving the last piece of chocolate every time, more than getting up at 5:00am to drive to sport, more than delicately placing the money under the pillow, the presents in the stocking, the eggs by the foot of the bed.
It is soothing back their little one’s hair at 3:00am, before running their morning briefing in the office at 8:00am sharp. It is laughing joyously with a friend on the phone whilst supervising homework hour and sorting out lunches for the next day. It is a look, it is the feeling conveyed in a hug… It is so many actions, often being done without fuss and with nil expectation, but it is a tireless fight to improve and promote wellbeing of those around.
When I was 18 years old I went overseas by myself to work and gain life experience before I went to university. Doing that was not easy for me, but it has only been in recent years that I realised that while it was scary and big and challenging for me, that was nothing as compared to what it was for my mother, sending me off on that plane to an unknown reality after working tirelessly until that moment in time to provide for me a home full of warmth, comfort and love. To control as far as she was able what negative things came at me. But she supported me to go, helping me to get on with it when I called her in floods of tears, telling me it would all work out and helping me steel myself for the next challenge, and work through the ones that had passed by. She made me laugh on the phone, sat and talked sheer nonsense with me and wrote me letters. To this day (and even in this moment typing) I cannot avoid tearing up when I think about what it felt like the day she stepped off the airplane to meet me in that country one year after saying goodbye. We stood in each other’s arms crying and laughing and hugging because we had made it through that year together, even though we had been physically apart.
That’s what motherhood is for me. Whatever that feeling is, as hard as it is to express in words. It is knowing that my values, my morals, my inner grit and my personal contentment are grounded in her foundations, learnt over years sitting at the kitchen table, lounging next to her on the couch, walking with her around the block with the dogs, sitting next to her in the car going to the next sports game, the next concert, the next shift at work.
There is another post to be written for the fathers, that’s for another time. But for right now, right here, I want all of the mums to know that you are seen by me, you are utterly respected by me and I am in awe of all that you do. It mightn’t mean much, but in the hope that it lifts even one mum’s mood out there reading this, I will be brave and hit publish 🙂