My two-year-old woke me up this morning singing happily as she came up the stairs carrying a gift bag from her papa for me. She couldn't quite remember how to say the "Happy Mother's Day" she had practiced so she told me emphatically to have a "Happy Day." I did.
I treasured this day. After several weeks of feeling...ughh...both physically and emotionally, I feel like I'm on the mend. We went for a walk on the esplanade together and watched boats on the river. We went to Powell's City of Books. We snuggled up together on the couch and read. She said, "I wub you, mama" when she went to bed.
I am learning to treasure these moments of motherhood. They are passing by so quickly. I must remember to mark these days. To feel that wash of unconditional love. To note that this is sacred.
Here's a four generation photo of me when I was about one and another (below) of the Sprout when she was a baby. When I see these pictures I am reminded that my mother was so young when she had me (more than 10 years younger than I was when I had the Sprout). I am fortunate to have had a loving mother and grandmother and great-grandmother. Although my mom and I have very different personalities and have knocked heads through the years, I have never doubted that she loved me unconditionally. The more I work with kids raised in dysfunctional, emotionally-harmful homes, the more I value the way I was raised---firmly, gently, pushing me forward, yet protecting me. The unconditional love of my mother and the mothers before her is a sacred gift.
I'm also thinking of women I carry close to my heart who are grieving today. The friend whose mother died this year. The friend whose baby died in childbirth. The multiple friends who have had miscarriages. The women I know who long to be mothers but struggle with infertility or simply can't find a partner who shares their longing.
Especially, I am thinking of my Aunt Esther who will bury her young daughter-in-law who died this week from liver cancer. I am imagining how she, with her own heart breaking, will steady her son Tim as he walks through tomorrow's funeral ceremony. How she, who lost another son in a tragic accident 20 years ago, can see the long dark days of grief ahead for Tim. How she is steeling herself to be strong for him, to comfort him, to walk beside him as he has to make a life for himself entirely different from his dreams and plans with his bride.
And yet I know that she will do it. She will grieve and she will put on fake brave smiles and she will love Tim unconditionally. And that is motherhood and that is sacred.