Mother's Day: What It Means To Be A Mom

In my last post, I briefly hinted to the idea that I believe there's a difference between a mother and a mom. So I thought Mother's Day would be the perfect day to explain that difference, and what it really means to me to be a Mom.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time at all will already know that I have two live children, two daughters who send me to my knees in desperately frustrated prayer, who drive me to my pillows to cry out my fears and the small injuries that are inevitable when exposed to children for long periods of time, who make my heart swell up with pride and burst nearly open with the force of my love for them.

These children have bound me in ways my heart won't allow me to speak of - they've caused me to face rejection and pain I otherwise might not have experienced. And the truth is ... sometimes I really truly think, "Maybe I'm just not cut out for this job." Because the truth is ... sometimes I suck at it. And I know myself well enough to be able to admit that.

But these children have given me strength and purpose, drive and passion that I might not have had if not for the perfectly beautiful burden of responsibility they represent in my life. They've given me a reason to stay alive, to keep choosing to wake up every day and show up for them despite the many times I have wanted to lay down and stop waking up.

Last year when I was in the midst of the deepest depression I've ever seen, and I finally stumbled upon the perfect way to kill myself without them knowing it was purposeful ... the imagining of their faces and the fear that they would someday know I left them willfully kept me driving straight - home to them.

Less than three months later, I started attending therapy. Six months later, I'm still showing up.

I'm a mother because I have children - because these little people who call me Mom are a part of my life and my heart in ways that can never be changed or revoked. I'm a mother because I keep them fed, because I sign the permission slips and cook the meals and wash the clothes. I'm a mother because I know the names of my children's doctors and teachers. I'm a mother because it's my legal responsibility to keep them alive and reasonably well-taken-care-of.

But I'm a mom because I show up. Because I ask how their day was at school, because I listen to the answers, because I know the names of their friends. Because I notice when they're sad, and I take the time to ask them why. Because I listen to those answers, too.

I'm a mom because I know Josephine doesn't like lasagna - but does like spaghetti. Because I know that Eden doesn't like Chinese food - but desperately wants to use chopsticks. I'm a mom because I know not only what size clothes to buy them, but what style they prefer.

I'm a mom because I know the names of their friends, and who has what issues. I'm a mom because I know not only the names of their doctors, but what the doctors are for and how best to reach them at almost any time. I know their histories and how to assuage their worries. I'm a mom because I know them well enough to love them in their own language, and to parent them differently with respect to who they are as people.

I'm a mom, not because I have children, or because I'm obligated, or because there's anyone in this world who could make me be a mom if I didn't want to be.

I'm a mom because I choose - every single day - to show up, and to love these kids no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts.

Because NOTHING negative about motherhood can ever negate the blessing of what it means to be a mom.

If you're a Mother, then I wish you a Happy Mother's Day. But if you're a Mom .. I wish you children who can see your sacrifice, who can appreciate your efforts, and who recognize exactly what you're giving when you keep on choosing to show up.

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