Mother

Inside each of us dwells a mother.

The instinct to care for another being. Pushing a several-pound mass through one’s birth canal represents one way of achieving motherhood; after all, once the infant emerges with a squall and crowned in meconium, someone assumes responsibility for the child’s care and comfort.

But giving birth is not the only route to becoming a mother, simply the most obvious.

While biology is the least of motherhood, it is the most celebrated. Flowers, chocolates, and Hallmark cards message a sticky sweetness that sugarcoats the reality of motherhood. Mother’s Day is pay day for the hardest job without financial compensation. You can argue the same goes for fatherhood but the reality remains women do the vast majority of child care and housework necessary to raise healthy and happy children. Not to mention the lioness’ share of the emotional work.

Underneath today’s family gatherings and brunches and breakfasts-in-bed runs a river of grief, a grief which embodies the essence of mothering. Honor this grief. For with every tremendous responsibility comes joy–and pain. So too all of you:

Who have lost a mother.

Who does not love your mother.

Whose mother did not love you.

Who have lost a child.

Who wish for a child.

Who cannot bear a child.

Who deliver children into this world.

Who care for others’ children and others’ mothers.

Who have given up children to others to care for.

Who care for animals.

Who demonstrate kindness and compassion to others.

Who care for your friends and neighbors as if they are family.

Who care for this planet.

Who give a damn about making this world kinder, saner, healthier, freer, and fairer.

I honor you.

To the Mother in each of us. Find her. Celebrate her. Remember her. Peace…

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