08 May 2016

To Give Life

A perfect representation of mother's day with young children!
Neill Marriot recently saidLove is making space in your life for someone else...Mothers literally make room in their bodies to nurture an unborn baby--and hopefully a place in their hearts as they raise them--but nurturing in not limited to bearing children...I believe that "to mother" means "to give life."
Our ever-patient hen, Licorice, and one of her new babies.
Relatively speaking, I am fairly new to mothering. I have four incredible children, but they're all six and younger, which means, I technically haven't been a mother for even a third of my life. However, that doesn't mean I haven't had a lifetime of mothering experiences. At eighteen, I was a Cub Scout Den Mother to a handful of rowdy boys. With five siblings, there was always someone to make room for (even if I was still honing my nurturing skills, like when I watched my baby brother eat a piece of the Christmas tree because I didn't want to stick my finger in his slimy mouth...eww!). I've babysat countless times, tended hundreds of animals personally and professionally and have had the incredible opportunity to teach children to ride. And Stoney? He's always giving me opportunities to nurture, take care of him and give him life.
Evelyn reciting a poem with the girls in her class.
All of those "unconventional" mothering experiences have given me unique insights and helped hone those characteristics needed for raising children.

Then I had children.

And they taught me those lessons a thousand times over with much more intensity and consistency.
Claire wrote me a sweet note and picked some dandelions.
Having children is one of the most humbling--sometimes humiliating--incredible, difficult, endearing and faith-building experiences I've had so far. It's interesting, though, how something that can be so physically and spiritually draining can bring such joy, peace and contentment. It certainly has made me appreciate my own mother, who has now been promoted to the ranks of grandmother, my mother-in-law who raised a wonderful companion for me, sisters, who journey through motherhood together, aunts and grandmothers and friends and teachers who dote on my children and praise me for my efforts and are wonderful examples of what motherhood should be.

(Plus, children give me plenty of writing inspiration!)
Jack teaching Henry the art of Hide and Seek.
Of course, I wouldn't be half the mother I am without Jack's consistent encouragement. When I question the impact of my life, he without question reaffirms I'm right where I should be and that I'm doing better than I think I am.
Who wants to pinch those cheeks???
The Mother's Day weekend has been spectacular so far, with a school-sponsored Mother's Tea Party, handpicked flowers and cards, escaping to an amusement park, being sung to, given chocolate, handed a gorgeous hanging basket of flowers, visiting friends, calling grandmas, being treated to special meals, catnaps and quiet time, and even having the laundry I dumped on the couch folded without being asked. I'm not sure a mother could feel more loved.

We hope all women feel treasured, valued and rejoice in their ability "to give life."
My beautiful, happy, kind daughters.
Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful women!

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