Celebrating Mothers’ DaysWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I love when a mother beams with pride on her eldest child’s birthday because, in addition to celebrating another year in the life of her child, she is remembering and celebrating her own anniversary of becoming a mother. On my birthday and on the birthdays of each of my three siblings each year, my own mom couldn’t help but lovingly stare at her birthday child while uttering, “I can’t believe you ever fit inside of me.” What seemed pretty weird and honestly kind of creepy at the time is finally a little less so now that I have been through the process a few times. It really is hard to believe that another human being, no matter how small at the time, ever fit inside of me.
The moments when I heard those first cries and caught those first glimpses of my children have become my happy places. When I’m having blood drawn or trying to get through any other uneasy moment, I think of hearing that first “It’s a girl!” that let me know I was officially a mother by public standards. It actually wasn’t a girl and no one even said it was a girl, but for some reason I could have sworn that’s what I heard. “A girl?!,” I excitedly responded. “No, it’s a boy!” “A boy?!,” I again responded, equally excited.
The second time around it really was a girl, but I still didn’t hear, “It’s a girl!” I was instead informed that I was the mother of a daughter by hearing the doctor say, “She’s peeing all over!” She? It really was a “she” that time. She was followed a few years later by another “she” and this time I was actually introduced to her with a genuine “It’s a girl!” Regardless of the words that were said, the birth of each child gave me confirmation that I really was the mother I had felt emerging for some time.
Truth be told, mothering often begins long before that unforgettable day we first lay eyes on our child. Some of us planned and readied ourselves well in advance of that unknown but very special someone’s conception, while others were quite taken by surprise with the news. No matter when the realization of motherhood takes hold, it doesn’t take long to fall head over heels and vow to love, protect and fight to no end for our little one all the days of our lives.
Not every mother has the opportunity to hold onto her child for all of her days and some never even have the privilege of holding their children at all. So many of those whose mothering journey ends before the rest of the world recognizes it has begun feel that mothering tug inside nonetheless. Only a mother can truly know when her personal conception of the maternal life truly begins.
Other moms’ maternity begins later in a child’s life, stepping in where another has left off. Some mother a child for weeks or months or years not knowing if that child will ever truly be theirs, but agreeing to love them as their own anyway. Sometimes a mother’s child is born long before she even knows she has the desire to mother. When she is ready, she may have to travel over land and sea just to gain her chance.
For others still, they may never have a child born of them and may never have that official government seal of authenticity, yet they genuinely care for people on this earth with a mother’s love and compassion. They mother a neighbor, a nephew, a community, a country out of nothing more than an altruistic desire to fulfill someone else’s basic human need.
There are women who share the mothering of a child, putting personal differences aside. There are women who serve as both mother and grandmother, starting over just when they thought the early years of mothering were well behind them.
There are women who have never been properly mothered themselves, yet chose remedy over resentment. They became the mother they never had, forging a new and better path for future generations.
Children are equal in a mother’s eyes and so should mothers be equal in one another’s eyes. Whether life with a child began after a beautiful birth, a heartbreaking phone call or a random twist of fate, our purpose is one in the same.
Mother’s Day gives us a day to all celebrate and reflect on this mission we call motherhood.
Shannon and her husband Michael are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at email@example.com.