Mornings consist of unloading the dishwasher, making the beds, wiping faces, and spreading peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Days are filled with the same routine and many chores; they are run by games, coloring, lessons learned and lessons taught. We sing silly songs and put band aids on scraped little knees. Bikes get regular use and my oldest learns how to read. We gobble down our dinners, talk about our days, brush our teeth and then comes the infamous bedtime.
After tucking in my youngest (for the second time), I sank into the couch, took a deep breath and threw on my favorite blanket. I let out an exhausted sigh and was in for the night. I planned on staying there for the next few hours with few interruptions. As I did my once over of the room, I noticed their shoes strewn across the floor. They had been playing outside in the sunshine and ran inside for dinner; tossing their shoes aside without a second thought. As I slowly dragged myself from the comfort of my spot I began to carelessly roll my eyes while putting them away. I quickly stopped in my tracks and stared at the floor. My tired and monotonous routines suddenly hit me with a sense of gratitude and joy. I was straightening and putting away these tiny shoes that drag in dirt and laughter into our home; they fill my heart with consuming love. I became overwhelmed by the nostalgia that these little shoes belonged to my babies that were entrusted unto me. My frustration quickly turned into a reflection for the many faces of motherhood. This is my experience as a mama and what the role looks like for me. It is a blessing and a gift, a challenge and undertaking with great implications. It is a calling which I take seriously and make mistakes along the way. None the less it is mine – unique to our family and circumstance.
I know those of you who are reading this are coming from many different walks of life. Some of you are young mamas raising little ones like me. Others are preparing to hold your newborns in your arms for the first time. Perhaps you have raised your children and now have the privilege of knowing their babies. Some of you may be facing challenges as you try to have a baby or adopt a loved one. You may have experienced the loss of a child or choose to live without having any children. All of these roads lead to great feelings of happiness, loss, joy, heartache and peace.
When considering motherhood I chose to write to all of us as women. Because a mother is so many things. She is all of you – she is me – she is us. Women play such pivotal roles in our community and while it may look different to each of us, we all complete pieces of this puzzle. This dedication is to all of the aunties, grandmothers, best friends, mamas, teachers and nurses because we are living in a world where everyone's family does not look the same and each mother’s role is unique. What we long for and what we get may be entirely different things. What I do know is that as women we can continue to support and nurture; in doing so we can raise our villages together. May we model that for those who need it most and may they know,
“Mother is a verb - it's something you do. Not just who you are.”
Cheryl Lacey Donovan
With mothers' hearts that we have been gifted – new, old, and yet to come - I encourage all of you to share that love that we were so gracefully given.
A big thank you to my mom who demonstrates her strength and Lord fearing heart with me daily. Thank you to all the beautiful women in my life that show the love of a mother. There are so many of you out there that touch and shape lives in ways I will always be grateful. I hope to carry on your legacies in the very same way.