This one's for Mom, Mum, Mother, Mama, Nana, Grandma,
My Mum community has been running quite hot these last few months. I've been allowed to be close to several enchanting stories along with some stressful ones and two downright heartbreaking ones.
As we approach Mother's Day and the "buy this hand lotion for Mum" e-mails start to roll in, I'm of a heart to write a bit more.
So, this one is for the women who keep it together when the world does not.
With love, B
The Grittiness of Being Mum
Before my daughter was born in 2004, I was an adventure girl who could run the Routeburn track in a day or cross the Himalayan mountains unguided and by foot, where the Indian army offices we met on the high glacier asked "but, madame, where are your donkeys?" We were the donkeys.
For as capable as I was, and with a reasonable head for risk, nothing prepared me for the melt down that was having a baby. In the months that followed I cried often. I think it was because my heart was bust pure open. I was so completely unprepared for the kind of love that makes you scared. Way more scared than any adventure I'd ever been on. I actually didn't want to feel that way about someone, because now I realised that it was no longer just me on an adventure. And it wasn't just for a few months or years, it was for the rest of my life.
Now, it was allowing her to be on her adventure, and watching her learn, and laugh and cry, and sometimes get hurt.
Being a mother seemed to be part of the largest secret society in the world, that was right in front of my face.
As I re-organised my cells to allow mother love, and greeted my son three years later, I began reflecting on my own upbringing, and of course my relationship with my mom (American). I found myself apologising to Mom. I'm so sorry, I had no idea how cruel it was to fly to another country with no communications and no planned return date. I had no idea how brave Mom was to digest that, and then to catch me with a hug and tears on my return, with no word said about how she tended the thread for my return. I apologised for marrying a Kiwi, and living in New Zealand as she would not get to be part of her grandchildren's growing up.
As mothers, we hold the space for love, and all the stories along the way. And sometimes it's gritty. Especially in Covid times. We absorb a lot, and give a lot, and deal with even more. Then we do more dishes, make a dental appointment, and sweep the floor.
There's no hand lotion that covers that.
For this Mother's Day, find a mother, any mother, and tell her something real and connected. Reach out. Speak your love. Because grittiness is eased by love. Mums know that.
The Moms and Mum of my family
My whole family got together in 2019 on Vancouver Island, flying in from various parts of the world. In hindsight we all feel even more lucky to have shared that time, as it feels uncertain when we will be able to get together again. There's the Moms and Mum (me) of my family, with our brothers, husbands and children. Mom (Carolyn) is on the far right in the blue top with my lovely tall daughter's arm around her.
All outdoors, all robust and healthy and happy. I pretty much guarantee there were grizzles on the front side of this photo, getting everyone together, and hungry kids needing snacks just afterwards. Absolutely incredible moments, every single one, knitted together with mother love.
Mom, thank you for encouraging me to be an adventure girl and even more, in giving me a great heart to become a Mum raising loving, adventure kids.