We had a wonderful Mother’s Day here at the Mady household, and I hope all others did as well. We enjoyed spending time as a family together with my parents, having our Mother’s Day cake, and exchanging simple gifts – I hope to get a post up later about the gifts I made for my mom – they turned out well, and could work for other occasions too. The best part of the day, though, was looking into the eyes of our little ones and holding them tight, thinking back over the last couple of years, remembering the first moment I held each of them in my arms, and cherishing all the smiles, tears, laughter, and exhaustion that have happened since.
I’ve treasured every moment I’ve been a mother, and look forward to many more to come. There is a certain love that only a mother can have for a child. Only the mother can give herself completely to the child before the child is born. Only a mother can experience an intensity of love born in the pain and self-giving of childbirth. Unlike future friends, relatives and spouses, who discover a person’s personality and beauty and fall in love with it, a mother falls in love with the child first, and then watches the child discover themselves.
Watching a child grow up is a beautiful experience. We have the joy of loving them from the beginning, when we see them in all the perfection God created them – innocent, pure, love, radiant… every newborn is the perfect child. Then, as the mischievous toddler begins to emerge, full of fun and creativity, but also selfish and challenging, we are not blind to our children’s weaknesses, but it doesn’t change our love for them. We love the goodness we know is in their hearts, and we embrace our lifelong mission as mothers to help them discover and bring out the goodness in themselves, and help them learn how to deal with the more difficult parts of themselves and others. As mothers, we have the special privilege of watching, and helping, God create his masterpiece, stroke by stroke. We lend ourselves to the process of giving life. We then become the means through which God gives our children opportunities to discover and develop themselves. We watch as these children discover the wonderful gift of reason and delight themselves by using it to exploring reality. We watch them find and question the limits of reason, discover where faith plays a role, experiment with manipulation of reason and dishonesty, and grow in the maturity needed to live life honestly and responsibly, from within. We watch them learn about the world around them, sometimes through observation, sometimes by listening to us, and other times by testing something that seems like a good idea at the time (like writing on the floor or sticking a pretzel stick up their nose), experiencing consequences and deciding not to repeat the said behavior… We see the little wheels turning in their head as they learn the basics of how things work… We hear their laughter and experience again, through them, the joy in the simple things in life, like rolling a ball, hiding behind curtains, playing with water in the sink, reading stories and singing songs. All of these things sound so ordinary, but mothers know they are extraordinary. It’s these little every day moments that shape our children into the people they become, filling them with self-confidence, joy and love of life. These moments teach them natural limits and help them discover the humor in life; these moments help them discover the beauty in the world around them, and most bring out their inner beauty.
I wouldn’t trade my experience of being a mother with anything. I wouldn’t give up holding little hands, wiping little mouths, kissing little cheeks or drying little tears for anything. Mother’s Day only comes once a year, but the joy and gift of being a mother is year round. Saying a prayer for all mothers today, hoping they had a wonderful day, but, more importantly, hoping that they have a wonderful life with their families, full of love, laughter and learning. Happy Mother’s Day to all!