It’s a boy!””It’s a girl!” Each time a baby is born, a mother is born too. She may look the same on the outside, but on the inside, she is completely changed. Her baby is the brand new owner of her heart. The mother will discover strengths she didn’t know she had and fears she never knew existed.
Like all moms, I put my children’s needs before anything else. When they were young, their feelings informed my own feelings. When they felt well, I felt well. When they were sick, sad, or distressed, my heart hurt in response. I expected this to happen when my kids were little. What’s surprised me in recent years is the fact that this powerful empathy never ends. My daughters are in college now. If they are struggling with disappointments or challenging relationships, I feel their sorrows and want to comfort them. When my autistic son is stuck in repetitive phrases or can’t express himself effectively, I feel his frustration and anguish. My knee jerk reaction has always been to rescue them. This task was much easier when I could cure the sadness and anxiety by fixing Barbie’s hair or losing the next game of checkers. I’ve learned now that I can’t rescue my children; in fact, that’s not even my job. All I can do–all I should do–is be there for them, listen actively, and empathize. My mom has modeled this for me throughout my entire life. When I am sad or struggling with my own kids, she seems to feel it equally, if not more.
The good news is that empathy is not reserved solely for the sad moments. My kids’ joys and smiles warm my heart. Their accomplishments and milestones make me prouder than I ever thought I could be. I love when they come to visit and I treasure the moments when we are all together. It’s true what they say: no one will ever love you like your mother. Before I became a mom, I thought I knew all about unconditional love. When I held my oldest child for the first time, I experienced a new depth of love that I couldn’t have fathomed before. This love was stronger, more protective, and came with a fierce loyalty like no other. No one supports, encourages, or dreams for me more than my mom. Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom and to all the Moms, Grandmothers, and Moms-to-be. Your love makes all the difference in the world and you are the glue that holds our families and our communities together. Thank you for everything.