Thank you to all of the mothers out there, the women who have built this world’s population from the ground up. Whether you’ve literally birthed and raised children or are a woman who has greatly comforted and inspired others, you are a motherly figure. And today we thank you.
These are the women who have taught us everything we know about the world, before we enter it on our own and along the way as we stumble through it.
They are the women whose unconditional love, selfless efforts, and compassionate guidance have profoundly impacted our journey through life.
They are our foundation.
This isn’t to say they are faultless. They are their own intricate souls with entire histories of memories, internal conflicts, personality traits, quirks, and all sorts of emotional baggage. They’re going to mess up – but that will teach you too. They’ll do everything to teach you, whether it be from their innate maternal wisdom or their painfully learned life lessons. They want to give you all they can offer in hopes to quicken your own learning curve.
And then there are the lessons, habits, and traits they teach you without either of you even realizing it. You learn what they think is good and bad, overhear opinions about how certain things should be, and see what sends them into a fit of laughter or a fit of rage. You pick up on how to communicate, how to see and treat yourself, and ways to react and cope with situations. They lead by example. And whether it be an example to live by or a testament of how not to be, they shape who we become.
There’s an endless spectrum of experiences in motherly relationships, and I can only speak from my own. In my case, the three women to have impacted me most profoundly are my mother and two grandmothers, My hope is that you can read between the lines and think of all of the mother figures in your own life, regardless of bloodline. Which women have helped shape you over the years?
To the Woman Who Ignited My Curiosity…
My mother’s mother has seen so much of the world…mostly from the comfort of her own home. She has a television in every room (bathroom included), a thick stack of magazines next to her couch, and a constant flow of library books about every topic imaginable. My grandma taught me about the world throughout my whole life, and it still amazes me the things she knows. Crime, politics, celebrity gossip, history, psychology, types of planes – there is no topic she won’t take a minute to learn about. This woman sees the complexities of the world from a big picture view, but also takes the time to consider the many sides and micro details that create it. She doesn’t have a degree in anything, but she is a lifelong student. She devours information on a daily basis out of pure curiosity and fascination.
I can always count on both learning and laughing when I go to her house. She’ll fill me in on the many chaoses of the world and dissect them with me as we discuss the many sides to everything. Then we’ll laugh as we shrug our shoulders and shake our heads at just how overwhelmingly crazy both people and life can be. This woman, my grandma, one of my very first best friends, has taught me that learning never has to end. She sparked my curiosity about people and the world from a very young age, and I can wholeheartedly say that the fire she ignited within me will never go out.
To the Woman Who Taught Me Positive Resilience…
The strongest woman I’ve ever known was always a fighter with kind eyes and a joyous smile, even until her final breath. My grandma seemed to know no fear. I knew she had some; I’d seen her cry here and there over the years. But she never let it become her leading narrative. She actively chose compassion and unconditional love for all people, doing everything she could to make every day a bright one. If someone was disrespectful, she could put them in their place without a single mean word or raised voice. She was the embodiment of the phrase, “Do no harm, but take no shit,” but she went beyond simply not doing harm. She overflowed with love without faltering; just like a waterfall never misses a beat, love was her very nature. She wanted everyone happy, even strangers. And she would do anything to make that happen.
My grandma taught me to pull up my bootstraps and push through the struggle, to focus on the beautiful message from it instead of holding on to the pain. Even in her final days, she told me she wasn’t scared of dying, because she believed she had loved ones there too. Surrounded by love she said, whether she lived or she died. Whenever I need strength or a reassuring pep talk, I put myself back in her arms, her fingernails slowly running through my hair, her words caressing my tired soul.
She lives on in the way she made me and so many others feel so deeply.
To the Woman Who Taught Me Self Love and the art of comfort…
Last but most certainly not least, my very own mother. My mother taught me so many things in so many ways, but the strongest lesson of all is the importance of self love and patience with oneself. She taught me the importance of “mental health days” and that it’s okay to say no to others in order to say yes to yourself. She enforced how necessary it is to always be patient with and kind to myself, no matter how frustrating this journey of life can be. I understood from a young age that I wouldn’t always like myself, but I always needed to love myself. This was a difference I didn’t understand at first, but she helped me get it over time.
On the days she couldn’t remember her own advice, it was instilled in me even more. I learned how to comfort others by first comforting her, with the very words she had spoken herself. To be honest, I’ve had to do more of the comforting throughout the last six years. But it’s all from her own strength. Every word I speak to her is something she has said at one point. I just remind her of it. She has instilled love, patience, and compassion so deeply into who I am that I never question it. It’s my very nature, and it’s all thanks to her.
I love you, Mom.
Who are the women in your life?
Thinking of anyone yet? As much as we’d like to think we’re totally unique, we didn’t become who we are completely on our own. Nobody’s perfect, and there’s both good and bad in every relationship. With family especially, the annoyances and crazy dynamics can often feel like they outweigh any good. Regardless, whether they drove you crazy and taught you how not to be, or they’re a saint you’ll hold on a pedestal for the rest of your life, be grateful for them. Be grateful for however your life was molded by their presence. And if they’re still around, make sure they know how their life has affected yours.
So thank you. Thank you to the women out there who not only give us life, but also meaning to it. You make this world a better place simply by being you.