Motherhood is defined as the state of being a mother or the qualities of being a mother on TheFreeDictionary.com.
Ask any mom what defines motherhood for her and you will probably see a faraway look in her eyes for a moment.
For most moms, motherhood is defined by the joys and memories that we carry in our hearts. Many women remember the moment they learned they were going to become a parent.
The feeling of a child stirring in your womb is a joy you never forget. The moment of birth remains ingrained in your memory long after the memory of the pain fades away.
Whether your children are toddlers, teens or adults with kids of their own, the joys and memories remain. This is especially true for mothers who have lost a child.
At times, mothers replay the memories, reliving the sleepless nights of infancy, the power struggles of the toddler years, the busy days of the school years and the launching into adulthood of their children.
Along the way, there are many defining moments. The cry of your newborn child, turning the nine months of waiting into reality. The soft feel of your baby’s face against yours in the middle of the night. Waking up to the morning’s sunlight and realizing your child slept through the night.
Watching your child take her first step, faltering and falling as you reach out to steady her. The sound of your toddler’s belly laugh as she runs after the family dog. The feeling of your child pulling away from you, wanting to experience life on her own terms.
Sending your child off to school for the first time and turning away so your child won’t see your tears. Watching from the sidelines as your child makes new friends. The feeling of pride when you watch your child in a school play or concert.
Sitting on a cold, hard bench watching your child run the bases. Running beside your child’s bike, newly relieved of training wheels, as the bike wobbles, then straightens and your child sails off.
Seeing your child dissolve into the tears that sometimes define the adolescent years. Sitting in the passenger seat as your child learns to drive. Watching from the driveway as your child leaves on the first solo trip.
Watching proudly as your child walks across the stage and flips the tassel on graduation day. Watching with tears as your child walks down the aisle into a new life with a new spouse.
There are many mothering moments when you realize that this journey will eventually result in your child spreading wings and flying away from your loving nest.
From the time your child reaches out in friendship to another child to the moment your child leaves your house for college, marriage or the real world, it’s all about the journey.
Motherhood is one of the few jobs in the world where, if you do your job well, you work yourself out of a full time job and into a supporting role.
One of the secret joys of motherhood is that the memories remain long after the children journey out into the world.
Dale Hanson Bourke wrote a wonderful essay about motherhood. Any mom who reads the title, “Motherhood…It Will Change Your Life” understands exactly what Bourke means.
Being a mother means a lifetime of watching your child grow and change. The journey to adulthood is a series of steps away from mom and dad.
In the end, the joys and memories of motherhood remain. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who launched me and my seven siblings into adulthood.
Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters and to my mom friends, who were at my side on the journey of motherhood.
Happy Mother’s Day to my daughters, now mothers themselves. May the joys and memories of motherhood remain in your hearts forever.