It is Mother’s Day and I am thinking of you. How strong you are. How you wake every morning – tired or rested – to nurture, feed, care for, shuttle, love, and teach. You are building – always building – souls. And I think it’s not the least bit cliche’ to say, you are changing the world.
“All that is really important is invisible: love, God, air. Mothers who… put families first… are the nobility of today. They take care of the invisible.” – Peggy O’Mara, Mothering Magazine
We drove home from church just before the rain began. It’s coming down gently now. I can hear it pattering the roof, plinking on the patio as I type. I can hear my girls in the kitchen with my husband. They are folding paper, searching for ribbons. All secrecy and whispers.
As we pulled into the driveway the kids tumbled out of the car and ran to the crabapple tree – its billows of pink blowing in the pre-storm wind, handfuls of blossoms slipping loose, falling between my girls’ fingers. They tossed them like confetti as we tried for a picture. We did the best we could. I’m not looking at the camera. I am looking at my children. And I like it that way. They are pieces of me – God’s joy slung out into their tiny beings. They are the only ones that call me Mama.
I feel the bigness of it. This unexpected quiver full of children standing around me. They hold still for a moment, then kick off their sandals and run headlong into the wind. I watch them and I am content.
Thornton Wilder wrote, “We are most alive when we are conscious of our treasures.”
I am conscious today. I am alive.
The rain is still falling, tiny petals dripping off the branches as the glory of this tree with its outstretched arms, shifts into a new stage of life. It will be no less beautiful – just changed, progressed, moving.
Like we do, through motherhood.
I love this cover from the New Yorker, printed five years before my first daughter was born.
I’ll leave you to your own interpretations. But I must say I love the contrast of color. I love that this voluptuous woman is holding a set of twins in her arms while another set of twins is collapsed over her thighs! I love that her long golden hair, crowned with a daisy chain, is glowing. I love the double stroller, the bag of baby paraphernalia on the bench.
“Don’t be lured away from the plan of God to the ways of the world where motherhood is belittled, femininity is decried, and the divinely established role of a wife and mother is mocked. Let the world go its way. You follow the plan of the Lord for the greatest measure of true, eternal achievement, and the fullness of happiness.” – Richard G. Scott
There were days I wondered if I would be a mother. I felt it, wanted it, but the years of trying seemed to stack up. I still mourn with women who long for children, for this opportunity, while disappointments continue to surface, weigh them down. These women know real ache and longing.
I am convinced motherhood knows no boundaries. Biology does not define us. We mother to our own, to other’s own. We champion children everywhere. It is within our divine sensitivities – an eternal part of our souls.
So if you are deep in the trenches, climbing out of the trenches, peering over that expectant edge, or remembering the trenches, I want to say…
You matter. You are the window through which your children see the world. Your love is unmatched. You are doing a holy work. And I am better because of you. I am lifted by your commitment.
To my own sweet mother, thank you. Instead of doling out advice, you listened. You taught me that a vibrant faith in Christ will sustain us through anything. You showed me how to conquer fear, how to laugh at myself, and that there is beauty in being still – in watching things grow.
I am grateful each day for you. I love you.
The poet Sharon Doubiago wrote, “My mother is the poem I’ll never be able to write, though everything I write is a poem to my mother.”
Mothers, I celebrate you.
Wherever you are.
Catherine Keddington Arveseth is a full-time mother of five, including two sets of twins. She is a part-time writer and editor (which means free-time writer and editor). She blogs @ wildnprecious.com, writes for Power of Moms, and is on the prose editorial board for Segullah.