Today is a day when we celebrate mothers the world over. Mother are without a doubt worthwhile to celebrate. I know because I have a great one. I’m also blessed with wonderful aunts and grandmothers when they were still around.
Ever since I was young, I’ve thought about mothering in a greater sense, as a verb. As a budding feminist in my late teens and early twenties, I remember starting to think about celebrating Mother’s Day in a way that included all of the women in our lives whether they have human children, animals to care for or have chosen to take on neither. None is better than another. I’ve long believed that there is an endless list of ways in which we, woman to woman, mother one another by providing support, camaraderie, understanding, by providing nurturing and nourishing one another.
This year, as my thinking came around to this idea again, I started a mental list of the ways in which I’m surrounded by women more expansive than just my family and how I feel supported by them. It included:
- The loved ones who remember my birthday or other meaningful days, who message me before a surgery, presentation or special and/or daunting moment to let me know they’re thinking of me.
- The confidantes who listen with understanding, compassion and words of encouragement and who spring into action to help before their assistance is even suggested.
- The women who cheer me on whether it’s online, by phone call or message, email or at a finish line.
- The colleagues turned friends who, when I call and say in a hushed tone, “can I vent about something for a minute?” always say, “yes, let me close my door.”
- The people who help me celebrate my victories and the wins, big or small, in life.
- The friends who message me to say, “did you read/see/hear this?” This is something that, to them, is indelibly me. Something I have to read/see/hear/give my opinion on.
- The ears to listen, the shoulders to support, the arms to hold.
These are the kinds of actions that nurture humanity and each other. This is what helps us raise up other women and raise future women who will do the same.
I’m not trying to undermine the hard work that mothers do. Relating to and caring for others is some of the most challenging work that any of us will do throughout our lifetimes. But we are all nurturers, caregivers, support systems in many of our own unique ways.
I love all of you, my mothers. I wouldn’t be who I am without you. ???? And now I’m going to go hang with my flesh and blood mother today.