A note for my children: please don’t buy me a gift on Mother’s Day. Unless you can have the Rolling Stones play me a private concert in our backyard, I don’t need anything. Really. Do your own laundry and make me a tea, and we’ll call it even. But promise me just one thing: that you’ll read this. Then read it again, slower next time.
I know on Mother’s Day you are supposed to be celebrating me for putting you on this planet, though honestly, at the rate the world is going, you should seek legal counsel and sue your parents. Good luck though, because your parents don’t have much to offer you in terms of money or equity. You are our biggest investment. I’m proud of that. You are also my greatest reward. So today, instead of you celebrating me, I’d like to say thank you to both of you for letting me be your mom (like you had a choice, giggle).
Thank you for raising me to be the woman I’ve become. You’ve never thought of our relationship this way, but it’s true. Before you, I was just me. I thought I was so smart. Educated, career-focused and independent in spirit, I could handle anything. And then I became a mother. Everything changed. Giving birth to you was like giving birth to my heart and letting it run with scissors right into oncoming traffic. How very humbling to be shown in an instant that I knew nothing about anything, except that I was suddenly capable of the power to love another soul unconditionally. That’s what motherhood taught me. Unconditional love. Powerful. Fierce. Enduring.
Because the two of you are so different from one another, you have shaped my character (we can talk about what you did to my physical shape another time). You taught me a heroism I didn’t know I was capable of, a fearlessness that comes over me whenever you need me in your corner. You made me stronger. Tougher. I have been a hockey, lacrosse, rugby, dance, theatre and equestrian mom. Thank you for testing my heart rate regularly. Turns out my blood pressure is good. Watching you achieve your goals makes it all worthwhile.
While I can’t hide the anxiety induced by my awareness of the world, I am in awe of the courage with which you both have come through challenges and tragedies I couldn’t predict or prevent. My brave hearts, your resilience grounds me. Knowing I can’t protect you from life is, without question, the hardest truth of my life.
Witnessing your humanity, compassion for others, your blossoming confidence in yourselves with a quiet conviction to do what’s right, or to take the risk to get it all wrong – these are character traits that you have cultivated. Watching you unfold into who you were always meant to be is amazing.
Your existence in my life has helped me become who I was always meant to be. Motherhood helped me find my voice as a writer, which was the only career aspiration I ever had. It may not be a source of great wealth and acclaim, but our family life has been the muse that inspires me to keep writing and I’m proud of that, as I am of you. They say “write what you know.” I know that I love you both more than I have words to say. This is what your lives have given to mine. Unconditional love.