Motherhood is a sacred sisterhood, a collection of hearts devoted to the small people of this planet. I still remember the first moment I felt as though I belonged in this special group— it was my 30th birthday and I had my first glimpse of the tiny heart beating inside me (my future Jack in the first trimester). I wondered with awe, “What will it be like to be a mother?”
Now, more than twenty years later, I’ve had the blessing (and sometimes the curse) of knowing what it means to be a mom. It’s late nights feeding your newborn, taking care of your toddler’s fever and worrying about whether your teenage driver will get home safely. It’s sitting in the audience holding your breath, knowing the big moment where your child will play “Twinkle, Twinkle” on her tiny violin is coming. And it’s enveloping your son in your arms as he runs out of his high school’s graduation ceremony waving his cap above his head in victory.
Jack, now almost 20 and finished with his first year of college, and Liesl, nearly 18 and about to be a high school senior, have been the motivating force for me as a mother and my greatest inspiration in my work as a pediatrician. Watching them become young adults feels like a quote I recently heard: “Having a child is like pinning your heart to a little person’s sweater and sending it out into the world.” Sending my two big kids into the world is the hardest thing I have ever done.
And this summer marks a new and wonderful journey for me—becoming stepmom to two littles, six-year-old Jonah and Malika, a rambunctious second grader. They are giving me another run at mothering small children. And this time, it’s different. I find that I worry less about the small things—which Easter outfit looks better or the call home from the teacher saying somebody pushed someone else on the playground—and focus more on how to raise good citizens of the world, how to teach children to be resilient and cherish people instead of places and things.
Motherhood evolves as we get older. Perhaps that is one of God’s great gifts to women. We move on and we focus on new challenges.
With that said, one thing remains true for all of us in the mother sisterhood: wherever our children go, however old they get, whatever life brings our way, mothers love their children with a depth and ferocity unparalleled in life. To all my fellow mothers, enjoy your Mother’s Day. You deserve it.