On Motherhood

Note: The following is a re-post of a reflection I posted 3 years ago on a previous blog. My daughter Tori will, once again, be unable to come home this Mother’s Day, so I thought I would share this … with a few updates!

This will be my first Mother’s Day childless. My 23 year old daughter Tori has taken a respite from her Big City Job and is off on another Great Adventure to explore the wilds of the Alaskan frontier, leaving me to be content with a card and assurances of her undying love and gratitude. To be frank, I’m thrilled for her and somewhat in awe of the fact that I managed to raise such an magnificent, accomplished, adventurous, and life-affirming young woman. Good for her … and good for me!

For reasons that seemed rational at the time, I never planned on being a mother. Instead, I opted for being a godmother, an aunt, a mentor, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. It made for a rich and rewarding life, to be sure, but being Tori’s mom has been the greatest gift of my lifetime. Hands down. No doubt about it. Take it to the bank. Put it in your pipe and smoke it (okay, that might be a bit much!). Truly, I think I am the luckiest woman I know.

I have always been a planner, a list maker, a strategist, and a tenacious make-it-happen woman. So even though I never planned on Motherhood, I am here to tell you that sometimes an unplanned life makes for the best life of all. The script I wrote for myself in my early 20’s has long since been round-filed. In addition to being the mother of a remarkable young woman, I am now the step-mother of 3, and grandmother of 7. I have been a single mom and a married mom, the foster mother and guardian of my niece, and a mentor to a number of young women teetering on the precipice of life’s toughest choices. And while the path I took was not what I intended, I am absolutely certain it was where I was supposed to go all along.

Donna Ball, the author of At Home on Ladybug Farm, wrote, “Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

Yep, true dat!

So this Mother’s Day, rather than sniffle into a kleenex because my Big City Girl is playing Eskimo (or this year, touring the California wine country), I’m going to tell my own mother that I love her, hug my sweet little granny, and lay flowers on the grave of the remarkable woman who gave life to My Nice Catholic Boy. And at the end of the day I’ll breath yet another prayer of thanksgiving for one curly-haired bohemian with the voice of an angel and the unexpected blessings of an unplanned life.

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