I became a mother in the early morning hours of a July almost six years ago. There were still fireworks through the window; smoke drifting in the moist and warm Hawaiian air. When labor began the night before, I was gripped with a fierce feeling of fear in the pit of my stomach. No one could stop what was coming, and I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be this baby boy’s mother. How would I know what to do?
I wasn’t a mother then.
But the next morning I became one.
No one can fully describe what happens that moment when you hold your first child in your arms. It changed me so completely, that I could have sworn the world was a different shape. A different color. It was brighter, and more brilliant than it had been the day before. Suddenly, I felt like I knew the secrets of the universe.
My first child, a boy, taught me what it is to love with every cell of my body. In the years since, he has taught me wonder, joy, and patience. I can’t believe how beautiful he is–his own unique self.
My second child, a daughter, taught me what it is to protect with every fiber of my being. She has taught me what it means to be strong, and long-suffering, and hopeful. She makes me proud, with her strong-spirited ways. God knows women need that strength in this world.
My third child, a boy, has taught me what it is to laugh, and wonder at creation. This last year and half with him has been more relaxed and enjoyable than the baby years with my other two, and I think it’s because I’ve finally stepped back and see the years slipping away like water through my fingers. I cannot keep them, these children of mine, no matter how much I love their little baby-selves. I cannot hold them here.
They are beautiful as they grow. They are strong, and vibrant, and full of the wonder of life. They will grow, these children–they will grow away from me, even. But they will always be my loves, and I will always be their mother.
I will always be a mother.
It takes my breath away, knowing that I get to be their mother no matter how many years come and go. I get to know them, love them, and watch the years come and go. I want to fill those years with as much laughter, and as many memories, as I possibly can.
So, this Mother’s Day weekend we laughed. A lot.
I hope you did, too.