My first mother’s day was a revelation.
As in– the heavens opened up, Somebody came through, and slapped my ass into line. Old testament style.
I had been looking forward to it as a day of rest and indulgence. A day off from all my hard mama work. A queen-for-the-day celebration of MeMeMe and all my amazing-ness. I thought I would lie down my Renaissance curves on the couch and someone would feed me grapes all day (or preferably coffee and chocolate.)
Yeah, I was asking for it.
My mom called early in the day, after I had finished up a morning alone in bed with coffee and a magazine, to wish me happy mother’s day. After we had both congratulated each other, and done all the catching up, she said,
“Well, enjoy your day with your beautiful little girl. You are so lucky to be a mama.”
And I was knocked flat.
Oh. Right. Mother’s day. Not a day to escape being a mother. A celebration of motherhood– all that I give, and all that I am given.
An old friend visited recently. She knows me about as good as anybody. On her last night in town, as I was finishing up a mama-bitch session, she asked whether there were any parts of mothering that I enjoyed.
Apparently I have not learned my lesson.
All I can say is, parenting is like nothing else. Nothing. It all starts with birth, and carries forth on a similarly mind-blowing level. It is so far beyond the hardest thing I ever imagined, and so far beyond the most joyful. It is truly intoxicating. To seed and grow new souls into the world– what greater privilege could there possibly be? What headier work?
Some days are blissful. My babies are vibrant budding souls and I am the model mama, mindful and nurturing.
Some days are the depths of hell. I writhe in confusion/disillusion/resentment/guilt/self-loathing until I have to go back to bed and pull the covers over my weeping eyes.
And we must take it all, like communion, with bowed head and downcast eyes. We are humbled before our babies, and ourselves; our gratitude and our responsibility. Humbled before our own power.
A couple of weeks ago, we were all standing in the kitchen, doing something utterly banal, I think I was pouring the Toddler juice. She looked up at me, and said, “You are a gate mama!” then turned to My Man and said, “You are a gate papa!”
Happy Mama Day to all you beautiful, hard-working, earnest-hearted mamas out there. In between the grapes, let us give thanks for the babies (and the papas) who make us what we are.