Full of Love and Welcome
My mother is generous, supportive, and ready to hear about all the daily joys and challenges of my life.
There were also other mother types in my life. There were the mothers of my good friends, who welcomed me into their homes as if I lived there. Food was plentiful and they always asked about my life as the years went on and we went to university. There was my step-brother’s mother, who welcomed me as her son’s sister (despite our lack of blood ties) and was there for a chat or a thoughtful word. Over the years, I would visit her when going through the city where she lived, and always received good advice, and a relaxing and inclusive place to stay. There was my own step-mother, who in many ways was everything my mother was not. I found some sense of balance with that for many years – as if together they would be a super-mum, two sides of a coin. And though that relationship has changed over the years, it was yet another example of the proxy-mums in my life. I have a friend I have known for almost 20 years and her mother invites me to family dinners and always welcomes me into her home. I feel this way about many of my aunts as well, they are full of love and welcome no matter how many years have passed since we last saw each other.
Wherever I go, I tend to find – or seek out – those proxy-mothers. Perhaps to continue to feel the mother type of love wherever I go, to feel belonging to a family, even when mine is very far away, to find ways of being to strive towards, examples that I can use to understand myself. I now have a mother-in-law, the newest of my proxy mums, and she is full of love and thoughtfulness.
I think being a mother is one of the hardest roles. One friend described it as having your heart outside of your body, running around freely. It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking. Being a mother is not for everyone, and the maternal instinct is not universal. We find community and caring individuals in our lives no matter what our role is within a family. We thank mothers because we either know or can imagine how hard the job is, because of them we have life, no matter what we chose to do with that life.
I have many friends now that are mothers and I hear about and see their struggles and their joys; I admire them for what they do and how they do it – getting through the days as best they can and doing their best to be there for their children. May we continue to strive, as a society, to do better by mothers, beyond a one day notice of their worth, beyond our humble thanks. To my mother most of all, and to my proxy-mothers, sister-mothers, and friend-mothers: Happy Mother’s Day.