Let me just say that it is a a huge privilege to be Mama to such awesome boys as the ones who showed up in my womb. Wanting babies was something that came to me early. As luck would have it, while still pretty young I shacked up with a great guy who was interested in being a father. Coming from a long line of enormous families played out in my favor as well. As a consequence of all of that good fortune, this is my 19th Mother’s Day as a mama.
I think often about mothering and how it has shaped my life so positively. I also think about mothering as experienced by the women who did not choose as deliberately as I did. For instance the many generations of my foremothers who did not have control over their own fertility. It makes me very aware of what a great privilege it is to be able to mother the babies that I chose to bring into this world, and no more.
When I think of the many women who have mothered me throughout my life I again feel really blessed. I have been so fortunate to have had the beloved regard of some truly amazing women. Thinking of them makes me feel warm and cared for, even though several of them have died. There is an aspect of mother love that is eternal, that flows through us rather than being generated by us.
When I became a mother I realized this embodying of motherhood is an invitation to mother others beyond my own two children. Several additional beloved children crossed my path during their childhood years, enlivening and inspiring my life. As a teacher and as a leader I have been given more chances to mother others as well. The spirit of mothering has been very generous in my life.
Perhaps motherhood is just about the energetic field of love, acceptance and nurturing. Or maybe it is the fierce advocacy and protection of the mama bear channeled in. Perhaps motherhood is assuming the mantle of the many goddesses of mothering; Mary, Durga, Danu, Pachamama, Gaia…. In which case mothering may truly be available to all who choose to love.
Mothering for me has always been very entwined with my breasts. I have written before about the power of breast milk in my personal understanding of the world. When breast cancering took center stage it was comforting to recognize that my children were past the breast feeding age. After losing a breast it was comforting to think that I still had one left, so as to hold any future grand babies to the bosum of my heart.
I was much motivated to stick around for my guys when going through treatments. Which again I recognize as a privilege that is not always granted. Some young breast cancering women discover a tumor while still nursing, and every year many thousands of children have the experience of having their mother die from breast cancer. If love alone could keep us in this world no one would die, even though love is eternal.
There are many ways beyond parental death in which people are just not provided with optimum mothering. This painful reality has inspired practices in psychology of re-parenting yourself as an adult. Which can ironically be important work done in tandem of parenting your own children. I believe that it is never too late to call the mothering you need into your life. Which is a good thing, because there are a lot of people who could use some mama energy in this crazy world.
When I try to list all of those who have mothered me I am truly humbled. Several are no longer amongst the living, but are still with me in my heart. Without this web of women I would not exist.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom Natalie
Happy Mother’s Day to my Grandmothers – Coral and Mary
Happy Mother’s Day to all of my beautiful sisters – Eileen, Kathleen, Mary & Maggie
Happy Mother’s Day to Edna who I still think about daily.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful Aunts, especially Emily and Phyllis
Happy Mother’s Day to my childhood neighbor Mrs. Beverly Grove who always treated me like one of her own.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother’s friends who really saw me and guided me, Joan, Naomi, Sally, Phyllis & Janet
Happy Mother’s day to the moms of my closest friends growing up who showered me with love; Mrs. Sally Foor, Mrs. Beulah Brillhart & Mrs. Peggy Miceli
Happy Mother’s Day to my teachers growing up who lovingly helped me negotiate public school; especially Mrs. Fritzinger, Mrs. Edick and Mrs. Mcclure.
Happy Mother’s Day to my bakery mentors who offered kindness & support when I was coming of age- The Hearthstone Bakery Gals: Sally, Angela, Bina, Rhonda, & Shakti. The Solstice Bakers: Myra, Leora & Barbara
Happy Mother’s Day to Harriet Kofalk who illuminated the path to Peace for many besides myself, and to Brooke Schaffer who helped me to see the light within.
Happy Mother’s Day to the Weavers & Dyers – who helped me find myself creatively: Most especially Professor Barbara Setsu Pickett, Marilyn Robert, Michele Whippliger and Margaret Thierry.
Happy Mothers Day to the midwives I have been privileged to be mothered by: Pamela Truzinski, Adele Rose, Sonia Gregg and always always Sue Skinner
Happy Mother’s Day to the fierce Godmothers of my two boys, Anasuya Starbear, and Sharyn & Margaret Freebloom
And Happy Mother’s Day to the Mamas of Baby Group – Audrey, Lynn, Moria, Teri, Laura, Moe, Meadow and Kathy our beloveds are nearly all grown up now – thank you for sharing the journey with me.
I am certain that other amazing and influential women will come to mind as the day progresses. May you have time today to relish the mother love that has come your way in whichever forms it has taken.
Wherever you may be on the mother spectrum, from just having a new baby, to being a great grandmother, to being a childless human being committed to love and service: May you be filled on this day by the huge waves of love that have created the world. May you feel the love that surrounds you even now. May you know that love is the only gateway into this world. Happy Mother’s Day to you.
And if you have been hurt and lost without anyone to turn to, if you have been abandoned and have no mother to revere this day, center into you own heart and follow the places your love has taken you – may you find there that the divine mother has been with you all along.