What is a mother?
Is she just the woman who carried you in her stomach for nine months? Is she just the woman who cleaned your dirty diapers and rocked you back to sleep in the early hours of the morning? Is she just the woman who packed your lunches and took pictures of you on the first day of school?
Is a mother the woman who drove you to every practice? Is she the woman who made dinner every night? Is she just the woman who did your laundry and cleaned the house? Is that all she is reduced to?
No, she is far, far more.
In the past few days, I have heard a number of stories about how mothers have failed their children. I have heard stories of mothers abandoning their kids. I have heard stories of mothers being more addicted to whatever high she was on than loving for her family. I have heard stories of mothers spending more time with their boyfriends than they do their children.
My heart aches for those people whose mothers don’t love them the way that they deserve to be loved. It really does. I can’t even begin to imagine what my life would be like without my mom.
Bragging moment: I know if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “My mom is the best mom in the world.” I hate to tell you this, but… I’ve got you beat. My mom is the strongest, most selfless person I know. She’s been through hell and back just to keep my family safe.
She overcame abuse, and believed my story when no one else would. She protected me from everything that the world threw at us. She played the role of my mom and my dad, and she did a pretty fantastic job at it. She built a life for herself, while raising three children. She bought her own house. She put my brothers and me through private education. She built her own business. She learned to love again. She. Is. Fearless.
While I think back on the past eighteen years of my life, I can truly see how much God blessed me by giving me the mom that I have. There are so many little things that she has done that have unfortunately slipped through the cracks and gone unnoticed. Has she been the perfect mother? No, of course not. She’s human. She makes mistakes. She has her limits. But she’s always had my back. She has always loved me exactly where I was, even in the mess.
No mother is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing their best.
A mother is patient. Yes, of course she has moments where she isn’t, but she has to be. She has to be patient, and she will be, because she understands that you’re a child, and she was once in your shoes.
A mother is loving like no other. She puts you first, even when she is exhausted and all she wants is some peace and quiet. Her heart aches when yours aches. She grows to love what you love, even if it is the clarinet (sorry mom).
A mother forgives. Even when you ruin her favorite top, she forgives. Even when you color on the walls, she forgives. Even when you lash out in a hormonal rage and tell her that you hate her, she forgives.
A mother does not control and dictate. She lets you be your own person. She lets you make your own decisions. Does she know that along with that freedom, there will be consequences? Of course. That doesn’t mean that she delights in seeing your mistakes, it just means that she understands that sometimes, you have to in order to grow.
A mother listens. Whether it just be about your day at school or about how that boy just broke your heart, she listens. She doesn’t just hear you, but she truly takes the time to listen and understand.
A mother accepts and supports.
She doesn’t shame you for you being who you are.
She embraces you. She loves you. Regardless of your weight, your skillset, or what you choose to wear, she accepts and loves you.
A mother counsels. She’s been where you’ve been. She understands your struggles. She knows what it’s like to juggle all of these different things that you are right now. She’ll give you some pretty good advice if you let her.
A mother protects. Nothing comes between a mother and her babies. It doesn’t matter if a kid is picking on you on the playground or a boy takes a dirty hit against you in your high school football game, a mother will stop at nothing to ensure her child’s safety (trust me, I’ve seen the second one firsthand).
A mother provides. She makes sure that your stomach is never empty and your heart is always full. If your jeans rip, she buys you new ones. If your heart hurts, she does what she knows you’ll love most. She’s always lending a helping hand, even if it goes unnoticed.
A mother is not manipulative. She does not base her love off of your character, or lack thereof. She doesn’t abuse you, whether emotionally, mentally, or otherwise. She doesn’t try to underhand you or make you feel guilty for who you are.
A mother does everything in her power to make sure that you are on the right path. She prays for you. She educates you. She doesn’t become a stumbling block, but she builds you up to be the best you can be. She encourages you and wants to see you succeed in everything you do.
A mother is your best friend. She knows you better than anyone else does, and she only wants to grow closer with you as time passes. She comforts you. She wipes the tears from your face, and holds you until all of your broken pieces find their way back together.
A mother is always there for you.
She never leaves you. She never abandons you. It doesn’t matter what gets thrown her way, nothing will come between her and her children.
I understand that there are a lot of moms out there who aren’t these things. Maybe they’re some of them, maybe they’re none of them. I don’t know. I just know that my mother is these things, and she has been a perfect example of what a mother should be: kind, selfless, forgiving, loving.
I’m sorry if there’s a mom-shaped hole in your heart. I’m sorry if she’s hurt you. I’m sorry if she’s made you feel less than. I’m sorry if she has failed to love you in the way that you deserve to be loved. If she has, know this: a mother is welcoming. If you are not already her own flesh and blood, she will make you her own, no matter who you are. There are plenty of mother figures in your life that you may not even acknowledge. I know that a mother figure doesn’t completely mend the hole, but it sure can help.
Maybe you are a mom, and you don’t feel like you’re doing everything you should. Keep your head up! After all, I have no idea what it’s like to be a mom. I don’t understand your struggles, and I don’t know what you’re going through. I just know that you’ll figure it out, just like so many moms do. You’ll get the job done, and your kids will love you for it.
Mothers are so important, yet we so often shove them under the rug. They are the strongest of the strong, the brightest of the bright. Give your mom a hug today, or at least a phone call. It doesn’t have to be May for you to let them know how important they are to you.
To my mom - Thank you. Thank you for being my role model, my best friend, and my biggest supporter. Thank you for sacrificing everything for me. You'll always be the Lorelai to my Rory. I love you!
“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” Agatha Christie