“Motherhood doesn’t come easy for everyone.”
I was working on a piece for Bay Weekly last week, the Mother’s Day story, and it was this quote that stopped me in my tracks. I kept rewinding the interview on the train and carefully documenting her words. I believe this is what they call writer’s gold. A statement that fits so perfectly that if you wrote it yourself the number of edits to get it that right would be in the double digits.
And it was perfect to help eliminate the bad attitude I had from listening to a talk radio program where a husband was arguing with his wife that Mother’s Day was only to celebrate your own mother and thus why he hasn’t and wasn’t going to buy his wife, mother of their own 3 year-old daughter, a gift or a card or anything. Ignoring the fact that this guy is a putz, it prompted me to do a little research first finding out that to my American-centric surprise, it’s a holiday celebrated around the world, and second 1914 is when Woodrow Wilson issued a joint resolution to celebrate all mothers. (Dear lady of the radio show, buy him a history book and highlight that page for him for Father’s Day.)
I only half-joke that the best Mother’s Day gift I ever got was my daughter born a few days before the holiday. We got to bring her home on that Sunday. This Sunday as I write this, she is currently taking up more space in a queen size bed than a child of that size should 🙂
Now in the article, in context Tavia’s quote referred to the struggle some have to become a mom. I fit into that category with my first, with months of fertility treatments, my son will always be an extra special miracle in my eyes. Listening to Tavia tell me about one of the adoptive families trying for twelve years reminded me that I had actually had it relatively easy.
And the more I listened around me and the more I tried to capture someone else’s story about being a daughter, a mom and an interim/foster mom, the more it struck me that I had not yet taken the time to write my own birth stories.
So today I’m going to gift to myself some time to write down the stories of both my kids. Each born near a holiday, and even though it’s been years I still remember details of the day of their births, what we did prior to the hospital, who sent flowers – these details I can still remember clearly (now ask me where my keys are at the exact moment…)
But my own birth story is a little lost on me, so it’s time to interview my mother and gather my own story. And I want hers as well. Since my grandparents are gone, I’m not sure how much we can gather about hers. We managed to figure out about a year or so ago that she was actually born in DC and not Maryland as we all had thought.
So here’s my challenge to you, do it. Write your birth stories, tell your kids the details of how they got to be here. Tell your own story of how motherhood did or did not come easy for you. Some of you may still be on that journey, write it down. Some of you are godmothers, aunts or one of the dads who plays both roles, write it down how these kids came into your life.
“Motherhood doesn’t come easy for everyone.” It involves toughness and softness, logic and emotion, holding on and letting go. Each story is unique and deserves to be told. Document it well, so that the occasional putz who doesn’t know history doesn’t goof it up someday (ahem, dude on the radio show – may your own mother have heard you and corrected you before you mess up Mother’s Day any further!). In all seriousness though, thank you to all the women in my life who have served as mothers from my own mom who inspires me with her kindness, wit, and perseverance to my grandmother that ran me all over the roads of Calvert County seeking new adventures to my aunt who taught me how to french braid hair and now all the friends that watch over me today 🙂 Happy Mother’s Day y’all!
PS – Here’s a link to the more recent Mother’s Day presidential proclamations between 2000 and 2011.