Are mothers defined by their relation to their children? Are women bound to lose their individual identities once they give birth?
Mother's Day celebrates and acknowledges the half of the human race that is expected to dedicate their lives to continuing the human species. It's a day of flowers, hurriedly-bought airplane passes, and attempts at breakfast-in-bed.
College students go home to hug the person who gave them life, but won't return their phone calls. Husbands might sneak in an extra kiss if the kids aren't looking. Young women who weren't ready to be mothers when their wombs were full, say a prayer for the child who isn't in their arms. Single mothers treasure the glitter-and-macaroni framed photo from school a little bit more, and single fathers continue to wear an invisible apron. Some kids are lucky enough to have two moms, and will have to double up on the tissue paper flowers and chocolate. Those with two dads may just wait for Father's day, but no one will say no to an excuse to get Sunday brunch.
And somewhere, there's a child who wonders where their mom actually is. To them, this may as well be another day, another eight-hour shift of work. Many mothers are working, truly never getting a day off. Or, they may say a prayer to her if she's already in the clouds with her mother, mingling with the light beams of a Sunday afternoon.
Some mom's won't pick up their phone. Others, can't.
There are also the women who want to be mothers, but can't. Don't forget the countless tía's without their own kids, and "fun Aunt_____'s" who bring the best birthday presents. So how is motherhood truly defined?
This is Erin. She has a sewing machine in her living room and a generous spice rack in her kitchen. She respectfully refers to me as "Miss Jazley," and always gives her children's teachers great Christmas gifts. Erin prefers organic beauty products, and supports local education. She thinks long term: in a few years these plants will grow into a natural wall for privacy by the pool, and later down the line, the piano/violin lessons will be appreciated. She showed me how to make her version of fried rice (avocado oil, anyone?), and will take a week off to spend time with girlfriends in Las Vegas.
This is Cassidy. She loves to play with "wah-wah" (water), and keeps up with her two older brothers like it's nobody's business. Her favorite activities include eating blueberries, throwing toys on the floor, and shaking her head no when she doesn't want something. Cassidy is particular with who gets to hold and hug her; she's not afraid to throw a little fist if her brothers are annoying her. Nap time rolls around after fifteen minutes in a moving stroller, and she'll insist on sitting on your lap if she lets you feed her. She'll try to feed you too.
Mother's Day is for girls and women. It's time to reflect on the female energy that surrounds and literally, keeps our lives moving forward. Try calculating the number of hours that women play as chauffeur, bread-winner, nurse, coach, cook, lawyer, therapist, teacher, engineer, performer, lover, team member, picture-taker, and more. The work hours are endless, and although their time, energy, and compassion seem infinite--it's not.
Mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, confidantes and girlfriends: females are everything. Whether taking over the world in mud-caked work boots, or shiny four-inch stillettos, womyn love, and ought to be loved as well.
So here's to you, Erin! Thank you for being another mother to me & for always believing in my dreams.
And here's to you, Cassidy! A blooming reflection of the tenacity, vigor, and life that your mother has given you.
To my mom, thanks for never going out of style.
To all womyn: let's keep the world spinning round and round, one day at a time.