For Mother’s Day today I wrote to my mother:
“My dear, beautiful, amazing Mom!!
Happy Mother’s day!! I love you so much. What a lucky life I live with you as my mother!!
If you knew all the moments my heart beats with sheer gratitude for who you are, and how you show up in this world, and in my life specifically, along with the lives of my children… you might be astonished.
Thank you for my life! And for mothering me in just the ways you did while I was a baby and child, adolescent and young woman. And now as I get soooo old, how amazing it is to still get to be your child!
Being a mother myself only accentuates my awe and appreciation for the mother you have been, and continue to be for me in my life.
So much of what is good in me was nurtured by your wise sensibility, your intuition and kindness and authenticity, your humor and graciously creative ways, your tender reverence for beauty.
I feel so proud of you, and this in me that comes from you.
I hope you know this always. “
How beautiful to have arrived to this place in my life and heart where every word I wrote is true. Where it isn’t said because it should be said, but because itmust be said.
I remember the time in my life when I harbored disappointment in my mom for her shortcomings; for ways I wished and imagined (from my all-knowing young woman perspective) that she could have loved, cared and mothered me differently as I grew. Shouldn’t she have nursed me longer, not let me cry it out; shouldn’t she have been happier, modeled more strength of voice and courage of self-love? It seems so young and outrageously self-righteous now, as I remember that particular lens of critical daughter perception.
But that aching recognition of limitation; that illumination of restless yearning and need inside me~ was a sacred threshold which delivered me at once to the claiming of my own self-mothering, while opening me to receive mothering from all of life. It led me to discover the many mothers and mentors who could help raise me into myself, into the person my mother had given birth for me to become.
So that before too long I could return to her, this woman who had so graciously birthed and nurtured my life, with humble gratitude for the absolutely perfect mother she had been for me~ in every mistake, wound and limitation she embodied, alongside endless gestures of selfless commitment, astounding generosity, unwavering love.
I remember the time in my life when all I wanted was to become a mother with my own body; to be granted the chance of embodying the archetype of Mother directly with children from own flesh. And oh my God the unimaginable Grace of giving birth, of growing those babies on my golden milk, and this holy honor of stewarding them now as they grow powerfully upright into the ones they are here to be. I am humbled and humored and touched and moved every single day by Life’s gift that names me Mother.
And I remember a distinctly challenging day of single motherhood where one moment in the private aloneness of my own despair I yelled at the universe the most horrific confession: “I HATE MOTHERING!!” What a relief it was to let that small, yet very real and self-judged thread of my consciousness express itself!
And oh the moments of painful remorse that arise in the face of my own shortcomings as a mother. Mothers always know more than anyone else possibly could the places where we’ve messed up, missed an essential cue, weren’t as present as we could have been, were more reactive than we should have been. And it haunts me in moments, this truth of my imperfections, my challenges in mothering, always so achingly transparent to my own tender, earnest heart.
But something softens within us as we recognize more and more deeply how everything serves; how motherhood was never meant to be a perfect expression~ permanently open and flawless, conscious, whole and shining.
Sometimes Motherhood is broken and ugly and boring and scary.
I continuously become a better mother through stretching the messy edge of mistake and repair; through being real and vulnerable with my kids, spacious and forgiving with myself, and through recognizing the incredible people my children are somehow becoming in spite of my undeniable flaws. (Go figure!)
I remember again and again that THIS LOVE that I imperfectly am IS the very ground of my motherhood. This LOVE that I so dearly, wildly live to loveand love to live, to summon, inspire, celebrate, and surround not only my children in, but everyone I meet, has got to be the god-darned point of it all!
This love that I serve and reflect and confirm in my children; condition, mold and hone them by the light of, has just got to be more than enough in the end.
It is certainly everything to me.
Mother is who I find as I bow into my yoga practice with reverence and self-thanks, as I twirl on the dancefloor, and when I prepare myself a beautiful bowl of nourishing food, meeting myself with care and kindness. Mother is who I am when my hand rests with self-appreciation and humility solidly on my own heart.
Mother is who summons the wildness with which to tackle and wrestle my growing son; who tentatively learns the art of giving my blossoming daughter all the space she needs to spread her wings beyond my embrace.
Mother is who I discover again and again as I sit in stillness at the flame, after everyone is in bed, overcome with tender devotion and reverence.
Mother is the warmth and nest of true self-embrace, and Mother is the sharpest sword, willing to slice through all that is not of service to life and growth and health and love.
Mother is the fierce baring teeth and claws, willing to do everything and anything to protect her young. She is the one who is exhaustingly devoted as she nurses us back to health. And she is the one who is not afraid to hold up the hardest mirror, and name the hardest truths, to reflect that which must be seen.
My Mother is Moon and Ocean and Stars; this very body and soul of our precious world. My Mother is Plant Medicine, is Ceremony, is Dance, is Healing Waters, is Fire. Mother is who I taste as my tears and in her seas, rolling down the cheeks of Creation. Mother is Life and Death; she who awaits our last breath, just as she inspired our first.
Mother is this hugely humbled, spacious, deeply intimate and personal love with which I love and am loved and lived as Mother.
Mother of my body, mothers of my heart and soul, Mother Gaia, Holy Mother of All Life, exquisite Mother that I am and you are, thank you. Thank you.
Photo: My Mother, and her Mother, and my daughter, who made me Mother.