As tomorrow opens, many mothers will be awakened with cards and hugs, maybe even flowers or breakfast in bed. I myself am hoping for a warm latte and some sweet snuggles sometime after the ludicrously late hour of 8am. Also a bit of time alone.
There is a homemade gift from Oliver, wrapped simply and on the front table. He made it at school, and I suspect it may be a frame he decorated, with a photo of him smiling in the funny, Tweety Bird way he does when he's shy or posing.
I heard Jack and Tom speak in mysterious and hushed tones today, and my Dad casually bought a bouquet of flaming orange and happy yellow Gerber daisies while we were at the market earlier and placed them in a vase on my table once home.
I feel so grateful for those people who've made me a mom and celebrate me as such, and to them all I extend a hug of appreciative love: to my own mother and my grandmothers, but also to my aunts, sister and the other special women in my family. Those who have loved me in any sort of mom'ish way.
This year, I'd also like to issue a broader, deeper wish to all out there who are mothers in some way, who are mothered by others and who have chosen not to or cannot mother.
To me, maternal is to mother what catholic is to Catholic. It's an umbrella description that contains specific roles and identities but is more than those discrete entities.
Maternal are the older (than me) women I met while I was in college who loved and respected and watched over me despite a complete absence of familial connection between us. Donna and Julie and Marie come immediately to mind.
Maternal are the mothers of friends with whom I still correspond. The former teachers who've kept up with me, long after I left their classrooms for the last time (Abbey, Mrs. W, Mrs. R). The girlfriends without whom I simply don't know what I'd do (you know who you are, and I love you.) The writer friends I've not yet had the fortune to meet in person and also those I have (WWW, Muses). The foodie friends who know a side of me that not everyone does. The amazing cadre of people who take the time to read my blog and let me know that it means something to them.
Maternal too are those who recognize that even the happiest moms struggle sometimes and who acknowledge that as life and that it's ok. Those who simply love and show up.
Were I not mothered by all of you, I would not be nearly as happy or whole.
Today my heart goes out to all the people who have lost someone in the maternal realm: a child, a mother, both, more. My heart celebrates all those who are enormously happy but also those for whom such joy is harder to come by. I hope you are mothered today in a way that is meaningful and validating to you.
I hope that our country can start to recognize that our pitiful family leave and general maternity policies (like not making nursing and pumping easier) undermine the family ideal we exalt, and that taking away women's rights to make their own reproductive choices does the same. I hope that same sex couples soon have no barrier to adoption, surrogacy or insemination. I hope that more conversations can be had about the threads of connection that have unraveled in many of our communities, leaving more mothers feeling alone or lonely or misunderstood or self-loathing.
I hope for all the moms and aunties and sisters and friends out there, who mother in different but important ways, that you are recognized and appreciated in some way on this Mother's Day.
Love to all those who care for me and allow me to care for you back.