Mother’s Day… I woke up today trying to figure out what that means to me. Not in a Hallmark kind of way, but truly, as the person I am today, in relation to my children, what does that mean?
I have always felt that there are two birthdays to be celebrated the day my oldest daughter was born. Her birth itself, and the birth of Lisa, the mother. They both happened at the same time, so celebrating Mother’s Day is, in a way, celebrating the relationship that was created that very day.
I have worked with young children for over 25 years, and I was always proud of being kind of a chameleon as far as mimicking their parents’ preferences and parenting styles are concerned. I saw my role as an extended, hopefully enriching, version of their parents. Theirs were the decisions, the worries, the major dilemmas. I rarely questioned other people’s choices, because I knew they were doing the best they could and knew how. I was just to bring into their little worlds, experiences that helped expand those choices or supplement them in my own way, not contradict them. I was a temporary guardian of the most important thing in those people’s lives. It made the choices I made while with them, much easier for me. I could spend time having fun with them, caring for them, and teaching them without any of the worries that come with motherhood.
I waited until I was truly ready and willing to have a complete life change and become a mother. I had been around kids for so long, that I had been blessed with the chance to observe many amazing parents I could draw ideas and experiences from. I had changed plenty of diapers, I knew not to panic when my child threw up or had a slight temperature because she was teething, and I was never intimidated about bringing her home.
There is though, a double-edged sword to having been around kids so much, and there were many other concerns that would keep me up at night. I knew exactly how quickly they grew up, and how incredibly important each and every choice relating to them could be.
So that day, when my daughter was born, another person emerged – Lisa, the concerned parent. The one who would make choices she thought silly before, who would repeatedly question and re-evaluate even the smallest mistake, and the one who would learn that sometimes we just ride the wave the best we can, no matter where we had planned on going before the wave hit us.
So, what is Mother’s Day to me? It is a celebration of a gift. It’s not (just) about getting spoiled and going out for lunch because we have the “hardest job in the world” (although getting spoiled is a lot of fun). It is so much bigger than that.
It is about celebrating the privilege of being given an opportunity to be the one who helped shape the life of the most incredible little girl, who is now a 26-year-old woman! It’s about being kissed by the sweetest baby and watching a smile that lights up the world whenever I made her laugh. It’s about testing my patience and compassion not only at 3 in the afternoon, but also at 3 am, when she decided she would sing as loudly as she could for 2 hours straight because she was teething and couldn’t fall asleep. It’s about being thankful that I can call my own mother to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. It’s about trying to hold on to every single moment (and accumulating thousands of pictures in the process) because I know they will vanish quicker than I can imagine it.
Celebrate all you have been given and embrace the journey of motherhood. Slow down to “child time,” and take the time to play and learn with your child. Visit us at Explore & More during Mother‘s Day weekend for special activities to honor the amazing women in “our” children’s lives, and don’t forget to take pictures to capture those fun moments together in the museum.
Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!
Sr. Manager of Strategic & Community Initiatives