We are mothers

Mother's Day is bittersweet for me. I lost my mom years ago. I was 16 when she died from cancer and now being a mother myself, I can't imagine what she went through. Now, when I think back about my mom's illness, I think not so much of what it was like for me as her daughter, but more about what it must have been like for her. She was a single mom with 3 young kids to take care of. She must have not only been dealing with her illness but also with her fear: fear of pain, fear of death, but also and maybe more acutely, fear of leaving her children, of not seeing them grow older, of not being there for them when they need her most.

For my mother, having to handle not just her sickness but also her life took heroic strength of will and character. She made sure we were taken care of- that we had places to sleep when she was in the hospital, that we still went to school and still got on the bus each day and still did our homework. She must have worried constantly whether we were ok while also battling the cancer inside of her. She must have spent sleepless nights planning and wondering just what would happen to her- to us.

My mother was not a saint. None of us are. Mothers make mistakes, we yell and scream and lose our tempers and lose our patience and say things we regret. We try our best and we plan and we scheme and we hope that things will turn out alright. We don't know what the future will bring, but we pray for happiness. We are mothers. We are single or married or divorced or widowed. We are heavy or thin or loud or quiet or shy or obnoxious. We are strong and scared and hopeful and tearful and joyful and we wear our hearts on our sleeve and we cross our fingers and we close our eyes and we ask, not for our dreams to come true, but for our children's. We are mothers. We are forever changed because we have a child. We are scarred with the memory of holding them for the first time, helping them tie their shoes, giving them the keys, giving them our hearts. We are mothers. We help each other and hold each other. We are mothers- we can never turn back, we can only look forward.

Happy Mother's Day.
- a