Mother… the verb or the noun?

One does not have to have birthed a live child to be a mother or to mother.  I have some friends who never had children as a choice.  I have some friends who never had children because the ‘choice’ was made for them by biology or circumstance.  I have some friends who have children and love, very much, both their title of mother, and the verb of the actions, and efforts, said title requires.  I have some friends who act as “mother” and enjoy “mothering” the four-legged.  I also know of some women who put as little effort into the verb, or the noun, as possible that it sometimes has made me wonder in bewilderment (not judging, just observing) why they made the choice to have children at all…

My heart is tender when someone gets physically hurt or injured, my heart is tender when someone gets emotionally hurt or injured, and comforting and consoling are small parts of the whole that is mothering.  I clean up messes that other people make.  I prepare food for other people to eat.  I wash and buy clothes for other people to wear.  I make a home out of a house and have told many people, many times, related to me or not, they are always welcome here, and I mean it.  These are mothering things.  I do many things and I am many things, and simply one of them is mother, it is just a slice of the pie that is my womanhood.  I am a mother to my daughter and I also do a lot of mothering, to people other than just my daughter, her daughters and my boyfriend for example…mothering is ultimately loving and caring  for others, and almost every woman I know does this every single day; caring for pets, students, loved ones, kids, plants and yards, jobs, homes… you see, “mothering” to me is caring more than any other definition.

Many people I love do not, at present, have a mother.  Many people I love had a very good mother and miss her terribly.  Some people I love had a not so great mother and yet still miss her terribly.  I am the daughter of a man who had his mother until he was 75 years old; his mother got to see him grow old enough to be a great-grandfather and retire.  I am the partner of a man who had his mother only until he was 15; his mother did not even get to see him get his driver’s license, or up on a big stage under the lights and behind his mic’d up drums, or become a father.  Some mothers get more time to mother than others and I suspect that their wishes at the end are the same, I hope I loved enough

I know of a few women who cried out for their mothers during unimaginable childhood traumas that should not happen to anyone, let alone a child, and their mothers looked the other way, but I know of far more women who got fired up in lioness mode when their cub was in need or in danger, and behaved in the ways a good mother should…with fierce protection, unyielding compassion, and above all else, overwhelming love.  No matter how flawed a mother might be or how inadequate her level of mothering might be, she is more often than not your greatest ally.  More often than not the one who can still make boo-boos and boo-hoos better, no matter how old you grow.  The one on whom you can always depend.  A hug from a mother and an “it will be okay” is in most circumstances, the best panacea, and truly, a little bit goes a long way.  I am thankful to be that person to my daughter, and to watch her be that person to her daughters, and that we still have my mother to be that person to both of us.

I have had some very low times during my life. I have made some very poor decisions that have left me bereft and broken, and every time when I have needed my mother to advise me, to comfort me, to save me, she has.  She has never turned away from me.  Despite her dissatisfaction with “the bed I made,” she never once walked away from me and said, “now lie in it.”  No, what she said, time after time was, how can I help you?  Not how can I solve the problem or the trouble you are in, but how can I help you to help yourself…THAT is to me, a mother and mothering and for which I am deeply grateful.  I have said so many times in my adult life that although my mother does sometimes drive me crazy, and surely I her, when she is gone I will miss her madly, and so today I will be kinder than necessary, and smile wider than usual and enjoy celebrating this made-up commercialized “holiday” because honestly when you have a good mother, every day really should be Mother’s Day.


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