The Gift of Motherhood

Hey everyone!  So I know this is a day late, but I have a really good explanation: I was actually spending my Mother’s Day with my mother.  So I didn’t have time to post a new entry yesterday.  However, I do believe that a blog post about mothers is definitely worth writing.  Motherhood of course is no little thing (just ask your own mom if you don’t believe me), but I do think it’s trivialized in our culture.  If you just look at how much our society emphasizes women in the workforce (not that I have anything against women who work) or how many child daycare centers there are out there (not that I want to condemn the necessity of childcare facilities) or how our government seems to becoming increasingly more involved in our children’s education (it’s been a while since our society has recognized parents as the first and most fundamental educators of their children; now it’s society that dictates what our children need to know, and I do have a problem with that).  Mothers are vastly under appreciated, and I just want to spend a bit of time acknowledging how essential mothers are, first by reflecting on my relationship with my own mother, and then by reflecting on my own aspirations to one day become a mother.

I absolutely love my mother.  She is my best friend, and we do just about everything together.  We talk constantly (she knows more about me than any other singular person in this world), exercise together, go shopping together, and share most of our meals together.  She is my number one fan, and she has supported me in every decision that I have made about my life thus far.  She always used to support me in my dreams of getting married and raising a family, and she supported me when I announced that I intended to enter the religious life.  Less than a year later, she supported my decision to leave and come home.  She is always ready and willing to give me advice, but ultimately she trusts my judgment.  I am so blessed to be able to call my mother my best friend, but this is only because she has first and foremost been a mother to me.  While I was growing up (and even now), she has always been first a mother to me, which has always meant loving me unconditionally, but has sometimes meant questioning my behavior and challenging me to becoming a better person.

When I was younger, there was a very popular TV series called “Gilmore Girls.”  Some of you probably remember it fondly, but for those who aren’t familiar with it, it follows the lives of a mother and daughter who are also best friends.  They do everything together, and they are always each other’s confidants.  They celebrate their victories together, but they also make lots of mistakes together.  Growing up, I always wanted that kind of relationship with my own mother, but I always felt as though my mom was too much of a mother, and not enough of a best friend.  She always seemed to know better than I did (it took me a while to appreciate the fact that she generally did know better), and could be critical of the choices I routinely made (it took me a while to accept the fact that some of my choices were just plain dumb).  She didn’t support me 100% like Loralie always did for Rory, and she didn’t give me the absolute freedom that Rory seemed to have (which may or may not have had to do with the fact that I wasn’t as responsible as Rory was).  It took me a very long time to realize that absolute freedom exercised by an immature young person is just a recipe for disaster.  If I had watched “Gilmore Girls” with a more critical eye, I might have realized that.  I might also have realized how ridiculous my desire to be like Loralie and Rory was.  Loralie made a good friend, supporting Rory in all things and giving her a great deal of freedom, but she wasn’t the ideal mother.  There’s a very important difference between letting your child make mistakes, and preventing them from doing something that you know that they will regret.  Sometimes we need to make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need to hear that there are better options out there (even if we’re ultimately too stubborn to actually consider those other options).  And parents can love us unconditionally without always supporting our every decision to let us “become our own persons.”  Mothers aren’t supposed to help us become whoever we want to be; they’re supposed to help us to become the best people that we can be.  Mothers can be our best friends, but they don’t cease to be mothers.  In fact, the best mom friends are also always the best moms.

My mom is my best friend, but she has always been first and foremost my mother.  By being my mother, which sometimes meant challenging my choices and limiting my freedom (I mean come on, the thought of children with absolute license is a just plain scary thought) while I was growing up, has paved the way for her becoming my best friend.  She has taught me so much- how to love, how to sacrifice, how to be selfless- and I would consider myself fortunate to be even half the wife and mother that she is.  Motherhood is no little thing, no matter what our society might suggest at times.  Granted, a mother’s love for her children is often found in the little things: an extra five minutes at light’s out, a lullaby to put a restless infant to sleep, a kiss on a scraped knee, or a wise word of advice for a growing young woman trying to find her place in this world.  Every one of these little things is just another reminder of how great a love my mom has for me.  I hope one day to show this same love to my own children, and to become their best friends by being first and most fundamentally their mother who loves them more than life itself.  Have you told your mom how much you love her today?  Mother’s Day didn’t end at midnight last night; mothers need to be reminded of how vital they are on a much more regular basis.  In their selfless love and their desire to give their children the best, they tend not to realize how good a job they are doing.  Remind them.

Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!

My mom, dad, and I at my graduation from DeSales University in 2011.

My mom, dad, and I at my graduation from DeSales University in 2011.

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