As I’m making plans to celebrate Mother’s Day next month, I’ve been reflecting a bit on how much my mindset has changed in the last year. For me, Mother’s Day was little more than another Hallmark holiday, topping the short list of Traditions-I-Sort-Of-Celebrate-Begrudgingly like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day and perhaps even National Grilled Cheese day. (I know. I’m terrible.) And now I’m a mom and, suddenly, this holiday means way more than a simple floral delivery and phone call. Cue the chorus of “Perspective” in B minor.
It goes without saying that I have a new-found respect for my mother that teeters on total and utter disbelief in her ability to survive my childhood. My mother is a retired school teacher who taught 4th graders while raising three girls of her own, and the very idea that she listened and disciplined and shared with a room full of 9-year-olds and then returned home to do the same with us is nothing short of miraculous. (She also didn’t drink coffee, so I’m not entirely sure she doesn’t possess robotic inners…)
And that’s what parenting does to you, yes? Swaddled around that tiny bundle of joy is a fresh blanket of perspective, wrapping you and yours with a woven mindset of new stories and realizations and understanding. So I’m not necessarily surprised that my mornings of diaper changing and food puree-ing and baby rocking have restored in me a new admiration for my own mother.
But what I didn’t anticipate was how this new perspective would usher in a new respect for all of humanity. For not only my mother, but for the many mothers who changed my diapers and my band-aids and my life.
I have many girlfriends who aren’t mothers in the technical sense. They’ve never kissed a scraped knee or rocked a baby to sleep. They’ve never been the recipient of a crayon drawing or pre-teen eye roll. But they are mothers. To me and to everyone who is blessed to know them.
There’s my college roommate who ran to the gas station at 3am to grab Saltines and 7-Up for me during a particularly messy bout with the flu.
There’s the wise store clerk who taught me the secret to cream blush blending (Hint: Use your ring finger!).
There’s the college professor who inspired me to chase my dreams, the midwife who delivered my firstborn and the NYC cab driver who gave me a free fare to the airport when I’d lost my change purse.
Young or old, male or female, “mothers” or not, I was nurtured and loved and respected by these individuals. I was mothered – and for that, I am grateful.
Happy Mother’s Day to you, friends. Because whether you realize it or not, you are a mother to many.