By Anne Maxwell
You’ll be hearing a lot about mothers this week.
As Mother’s Day approaches, accolades to these amazing women in our lives will be celebrated in countless ways -- big and small. From bunches of flowers to brunches with carbs, we’ll toast the ones who nurture us, coddle us, correct us, and, quite simply, unconditionally love us. The praise is well-founded, well-deserved.
I’m blessed enough to be counted among those who answer to “Mom,” “Mom!” and “MOM!” on a daily basis. While I’ll gladly accept any and all homemade cards, coupons for housework and flowers offered, I don’t feel the need to be celebrated for being lucky enough to hold down the most difficult -- and best -- job that exists.
When it comes to praise, I’m not looking so much to receive, but rather to give. I want to offer credit where credit is due.
To my kids.
That’s right. Being a mom isn’t something I’ve done -- or even become -- by luck, by chance, by merit. My children have made me the mom I am.
My teenage daughter and I were running errands on a recent afternoon as I attempted to make a point to her, but struggled to find the words.
“You know what I’m trying to say,” I said, exasperated that I was unable to clearly express my thoughts.
She looked with a smile, cocked her head, and replied, “Of course I know what you’re trying to say,” she said. “Remember, Mom … I know what your voice sounds like from the inside.”
Like most moms out there, I have spent a lot of time putting in time with my kids. Teaching lessons along the way in present, small moments that I hope will later loom large. Reading books. Cooking meals. Helping with homework. Saying prayers. Planting gardens. Pulling weeds. Washing clothes. Folding clothes. And washing and folding again.
I know what I hope they’ve gained from the chores and mindful moments deposited in their hearts and minds over the years. I want them to know what I’ve learned a lot along the way as well.
My serious, soulful, driven oldest daughter taught me silence speaks volumes when you lead by example with compassion. Thank you, dear daughter, for teaching me it’s not so much what you say, but what you do when it’s done in love.
My second born, prone-to-illness, dyslexic, creative daughter has faced challenge after challenge since day one. Thank you, sweet, persistent girl, for endlessly showing me each struggle can be met and surpassed with enough faith, steadfastness and hope.
My youngest, spirited, fearless daughter journeys through life with arms open wide, welcoming each experience, embracing the unknown. Thank you, darling daughter, for helping me to let go and enjoy the ride without looking for trouble around each bend.
And, then there’s the kindhearted baby, my only son. I’m grateful to my baby boy for reminding me I’m never too busy to enjoy a sunrise, to watch the birds gathered around the front yard feeder, or to take a bike on a sunny day. You’ve taught me active art of seeking grace.
These are the lessons from those who heard the echoes of my voice - and my heart - from the moment they were created and gifted to me. They’ve helped me learn to listen to it each day to remind myself who I am.
I am their mom.
I am enough.
If you’re fortunate to still have your mother, don’t forget to reach out to her and tell her “Happy Mother’s Day.” Thank her for all she’s done.
And then, thank your kids.
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