This past Mother’s Day, I found myself fondly reflecting on my first Mother’s Day.
That day, some 22 years ago, I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my husband, with a handwritten note: “Happy Mother’s Day.” It was the first time I’d been called a mom, and a moment I’ve held close ever since.
I’d only learned of my first pregnancy a few weeks earlier, and was still settling into the idea that in just a few months, my life would be rearranged around a small human being.
My husband’s words reminded me that something already had changed forever; that from that point on, I’d be on both the giving and receiving ends of Mother’s Day.
Since then, that special day in May has become a favorite, and each passing year, the beautiful gestures of love more meaningful.
But it’s also set off some complex emotions. Melancholy, for instance, as I grapple with the ending of the days of crisp toast and lukewarm coffee bedside, fistfuls of squished dandelions and homemade cards.
This struck me especially this Mother’s Day as I shuffled upstairs to grab my mug of java while sleepy teens slumbered on.
Truly, the day turned out beautifully. Mother’s Day 2017 provided what I’d hoped for — all five kids under one roof for just a little while.
But I also was more aware of another likely shift ahead. Someday, my daughters and sons’ future wives may be moms, too. A new season will emerge then.
While being a mother is a constant, its particularities are often in flux.
Realizing this made me wistful about certain seasons now past, like those years my pre-teen daughters lived for coffee-shop dates with me. Had I fully understood then the blessing of spending that mostly uncomplicated time together?
Since motherhood is ever-changing, the best we can do is be in the moment through each unique season, and hopefully recognize the sublime commission we’ve been given.
There is one thing about motherhood that will never change, however. My friend Laura first made me aware of this when, not long before her passing, she shared the importance of reminding her four children, “I will always be your mother.”
Always. Because while her illness threatened to rob her of some of the years she’d hoped to have with them, it could not steal the maternal bond. Her physical absence couldn’t diminish it an ounce.
Recognizing the eternal nature of motherhood was a profound discovery, then and now. And I hope it comforts other mothers who’ve been separated from their children, for whatever reason. From conception on, a mother is a mother forever. May this reality impact and bless your life as it has mine.
[For the sake of having a repository for my newspaper columns and articles, I reprint them here, with permission, a week after their run date. The preceding ran in The Forum newspaper on May 20, 2017.]