Happy Mother’s Day!

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It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, a day to honor all the mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, and mothers at heart. A day to honor their sacrifice, wisdom, and humility.

But sometimes I feel like Mother’s Day excludes the women that came into motherhood in their own unique way, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, such as:

The single mothers that had their children in their early 20s, forced to decide between an abortion or serious societal judgment. The women that struggle with infertility and miscarriage, often dealing with their grief and pain privately. The women that are – in their own way – mothers, but do not have their own biological children. Or the women that have buried their own children due to an unfortunate accident, illness or war. As well as the women that have given up their children for adoption, opting for life over death regardless of the price they pay.

Motherhood doesn’t look the same for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not all the same.

Today, I’d like to honor the women with unique journeys to motherhood. All these women are strong, noble and inspiring in their own way. I’m in awe of each of them as they always do the best they can while remaining true to themselves. Today, we honor you.

***

“It really does take a village to raise a child”
Maria, mom to a 6.5-year-old boy with a little girl on the way 

Another Mother’s Day has come around, and it is a time where I reflect on how thankful I am for the women in my life that have helped raise me, and continue to support me. This group of women includes my grandmothers, aunts, Godmother, and the star of the show, by far, my mother, who puts everyone before herself.

Having become a mother in my early 20s, Mother’s Day often reminds me of the role I play in my son’s life, and what I can offer him, with the tools and lessons I have been equipped with. I seem to have followed in my mother’s difficult footsteps as we both found ourselves as single mothers, forced to get over very difficult pasts fuelled by our first partners. Interestingly enough, we both found true love the second time, with men that can support our journeys as mothers and wives.

Celebrating motherhood is such a beautiful thing, but we cannot take all the credit. It really does take a village to raise a child, and the support I have received not just from my mother, but from my friends, extended family, and the Church are insurmountable and precious, especially during this tumultuous journey.  This unending support has molded me into the mother I am today, and has shaped me into the woman that we celebrate each and every Mother’s Day. I hope that my son grows to respect all women in his life with the sweetness and love he has shown me.

Happy Mother’s Day!

“I will always be their aunt: a steady presence in their lives”
Violette, aunt to 8 and Godmother to 2 

I am an auntie, and I’m proud of it. I am an aunt to five beautiful nieces and three handsome nephews; I feel a strong obligation to be there for each and every one of them.

When my eldest niece was born, I and the rest of the family were anxiously waiting to meet her. When it was my turn to introduce myself, she wrapped her tiny fingers around mine and the protective auntie instinct came through instantly. This protective instinct grew bigger and bigger as my army of nephews and nieces started marching in.

Since my nieces and nephews were born, I have developed a bond with each of them, one that is very special and unique.

As a family, we try to maintain some annual customs and traditions such as Christmas and Easter lunch. However, I have tried to create my own traditions based on my childhood experiences. One of them was having sleepovers and baking cookies while brewing a cup of tea to gulp down in between giggles. The sleepovers were fun as they were also a chance for me to recall stories of their parent’s childhood, as well as stories of their younger years.

Although sleepovers were one of the joys we had together, it was difficult to maintain as my nieces and nephews got older and went on to find their own paths in life, so brunch and dinner dates became our new tradition.  Our interactions now are based on sharing teenage and young women experiences. When they are with me they are light and talkative in a different way than they are with their moms and dads. I am like a peer with them, and that is okay, because I don’t have to be the one to discipline them every day.

No matter how our time is spent together, I endeavor to keep building our relationship and strengthening our bond as we continue our life journey together.

There is something special about the relationship between me as an aunt and my nephews and nieces, one that is like no other. I have known them as long as their parents have, and we will always be in each our lives through ups and downs. Unlike friends, who can come and go, I will always be their aunt: a steady presence in their lives, nurturing and loving them always.

I pray to God to keep them safe and guide them in His path. I hope He showers them with joy, good health and, above all, His wisdom. I thank God for the gift He bestowed upon me for being an aunt to my cherished nieces and nephews.

“Having my kids re-introduced me to God”
Rona, mom to a 2.5-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl 

Being a mom has honestly changed my life for the better.  As a young mom of two, everybody always asks me if I regret having them so young, or if I would change it if I could, and my honest answer is always – and forever will be – “No.”

As challenging and draining as it is, it is tenfold more rewarding. Nothing will ever compare to the first time I held them, or the first little steps they took, or the first time I heard the word “mama.”

That one four-letter word has such power. It fills me with the purest and most genuine joy.

As many teenagers in this generation, I did not want to listen to my parents and act the way they wanted me to. I found myself losing my way, my faith, and my identity. But after having my kids, I can honestly say they re-introduced me to God and re-adjusted my life completely. At that point, I believed in the saying “everything happens for a reason.”

Becoming a mom did not only create a newfound relationship between me and my kids, but it also restored the relationship I had with MY mom. It made me appreciate her so much more than I already did and it made me realize the unconditional love that I have for my little ones, she has for me.

From now until forever – it is me and them and the grace of God against the world.

***

Thank you, Maria, Violette, and Rona for sharing your powerful motherhood stories with us. Motherhood doesn’t look the same for everyone, but thankfully, we have a mother we can all relate to: the Theotokos. No matter what you’re going through, She will understand and give you comfort. May we all love and nurture each other as the Theotokos loves and nurtures us. Pray to Her!

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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