I hated Mother’s Day. I made the cards. I said the things. But I hated it. I didn’t have the “World’s Best Mom,” the greeting cards were talking about. I know now my mother did the best she could. But back then, it was really uncomfortable to pretend. My dad filled in the gaps. And maybe because of that, I missed something about the power of women.
Sometimes it’s still uncomfortable. She’s gone and my kids are the ones who are making the cards and saying the things. I wonder if they ever feel uncomfortable. I think about all the ways I fall short, all the yelling I can’t seem to stop, all the times I let unimportant things be more important than them. I worry they might be missing something.
I’m not getting it exactly right. My mom didn’t get it right either. Feminism never seemed necessary to me. A woman had all the power in my house. And it sucked. I thought I must be missing something. Looking back, I see my mom used that power to fight against the darkness in her life. I see her as a woman who, sadly, never found her fire. But I also see there were wonderfully powerful women all around me. I was surrounded by independent women who were getting shit done. They were doing the work. They were bearing the burdens. They were laughing and crying and loving. They weren’t complaining. I might have missed it then. But I see it now.
Looking back, there was immense power in my own house. Not the kind that was commanded by fear, but the kind that existed in the face of it. The power to continue to be, to breathe, to rise. The power to feel for someone who couldn’t feel for you. There were women in my house doing that before they were even old enough to be called women. I might have missed it then. But I see it now.
I see it because, as I gratefully continue on in this life, I never walk alone. My path is lined with sisters.
I hear their voices encouraging those whose worlds are crumbling. I read their texts when they are up too late shouldering the weight of the world. They are laughter. They are relief. They are peace. They are warriors.
They might miss it. But I don’t. I see them searching for the school, the therapy, the experience that will give their precious children what they need. I watch them battle the world to ensure their children are seen. I stand in awe as they cry and smile and fight and love immensely. They are believers.
They might miss it. But I see them work too many hours. I see them striving, sometimes as the sole parent, to build a life for themselves and their children they feel is worthy. They are doers.
They might miss it, but I don’t. I read their words. I hear their passion. I feel their pain. They share it with the world and give the rest of us permission to be who we are. They are truth tellers.
They might miss it, but I see their effort. They are learning. They are pushing their bodies toward health. They are pursuing their interests in the few spare minutes they have a day. They are carving out time to be their best selves. They are seekers.
They might miss it, but I don’t. I see the women who don’t celebrate Mother’s Day because they don’t have children. I celebrate them. They are nurturing and creating and comforting and giving. I watch them color the world. They are motherers.
I see the mamas whose babies are sick. And the mamas whose babies are gone. I don’t want to see it. I want to look away. But we sisters don’t do that. We feel the pain together. We try to take a tiny bit of that pain from those mamas by feeling it with them. They are survivors.
They might miss it, but I don’t. They are at the borders. They are in the boats. They are in camps. They are cold and hungry and hopeless. Yet, they still hope. They are hopers. I hope with them.
Because I know. I see it now. I see the power in each of them even when they are too tired, too guilt ridden, too pained to see it themselves.
When I see us, I don’t see greeting card versions of the “World’s Best Mom.” I see us getting it wrong in as many ways as we are getting it right. But we keep at it. Because the imperfect world needs our woefully flawed, badass selves to keep trying no matter how many times we screw up.
You might miss it. I did for a bit. But, I see it now. We are strength in the face of impossibility. We are tireless effort in the face of probable failure. We are a push in the face of exhaustion. We are bravery in the face of fear. We are possibility in the face of hopelessness. We are beauty in the face of devastation. We are inspiration. We are fire. We are light.
Don’t miss it, sister. Light that shit up.
- Early Morning Anchor
- It goes so fast…