Happy Mothers Day!
In honor of this special day I present to you…
Motherhood: In 10 words or Less
In last year’s post we celebrated by soliciting stories and biographies from some wise women about their own mothers, and how She had influenced their lives. This year we’re doing it again but with a different twist:
I’m thinking: can we distill this experience of being a mother, being mothered, and all the qualities involved in that, down into just a few short words? Say 10? A kind of ‘bumper sticker’ description of the complexity of what “Motherhood” means for each of us?
I put this question out to some of the circles of women that I know and I was so thrilled with what I received back. The answers were honest, tender and totally poetic. I was reminded of the ancient art of haiku wherein a few small words are used to express so much. And while keeping it to just 10 words proved to be a challenge we almost all managed it, which is quite a feat when you think about how verbose most of us mothers are required to be (“get your coat! where’s your lunch? who made this mess??”)
So without further ado, let’s hear from our contributors. Drum roll please. Ten words or less. Go!
“Love, pain, endurance, fatigue, overwhelm, brave, fragile, patient, hopeful, proud”
– Krista, mom of 5
“Daily hilarity, daily frustration, daily surprises, daily inspiration, daily Love.”
– Kym , mother of 2
“I guess no one did say it was going to be easy!”
– Mia, mother of 2
“Always marvelling at the miracles I call my children. Creations beyond compare – love deeper than words!”
– Gina, mother of 2
“They bring us to our knees and love us with the wholeness of their hearts”
-Arika, mother of 3
“Unconditional, tender, understanding, teacher, tired, stressed, patience, loving, and fun”
-Rachel, mother of 1
“Reciprocal, unconditional, encircling love between mama and her boys”
– Valerie, mother of 2
“Mother: witness to the universe’s grandest spectacle of becoming.”
– Karen, mother of 4
Some wrote about their own mothers and the complex emotions tied up in that relationship. Others wrote about their daughters and the aching longing we carry for them to grow and thrive into their own adult lives. Almost all wrote of Love and the footprint it leaves on our hearts in the midst of this roller-coaster ride called motherhood:
“Wishing fervently on candles and eyelashes for her continual survival”
– Caitlin, mother of 1
Perigee full moon
Pulled my mom to the bright stars
Pulled bright, light tears from my eyes.
–Alex, mother of 3, who lost her own mother last Saturday.
(rest in peace Daphne Dibble Greene Wilkins. 1929-2012)
“My Mother: beautiful, young, funny, adventuresome, headstrong, loving, old soul. “
– Tricia, mother of 3
“Deanna: Bright light illuminating safe-harbor; wants a foot rub.”
– Laurie, mother of 1
“Never expecting the immense love you’ll give or will receive.”
– Laura, mother of 2
“A mark of kisses, sticky fingers, repetition, hugs, self doubt, unending love, sweet sounds and soul-touching moments stamped on your heart forever.”
– Teig, mother of 1
I tried my hand at this exercise myself, with mixed results. My inspiration was to use the 7 letters in the word “mother” as an acronym. But for what? I worked on it over several days and my answer seemed to vary depending on the emotional mood of the day and whether it had been a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ day of mothering:
or how about…
and but my favorite turned out to be:
So using just 10 words to capture something as powerful and essential as the nature of motherhood turned out to be harder than I thought. Just for fun I googled around the interwebs to see if other writers had ever been able to do this. Some of the quotes I found were too delicious not to share with you:
“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”
( Milton Berle)
“An ounce of mother is a worth a pound of clergy”
“Mirror, mirror on the wall
I am my mother after all”
( author unknown)
and my personal favorite:
“Sweater, n. : garment worn by child when mother is feeling chilly”
And as for that “bumper sticker ” we were looking for? That perfect mantra regarding mothers? The one we might like to reflect upon while stuck in a traffic jam?Well, I think these four brief words say it all and I would be proud to proclaim it’s sentiment on my vehicle:
So this Mother’s Day however you say it, whether you use few words or many, be sure to tell the mothers in your life (if not your own mother than at least someone else’s!) how you feel about them and how much they are loved and appreciated. It’s not an easy job, it’s full of contradictions, but it sure is beautiful.
I’ll close with this last quote from my friend Jennifer, mother of 3, who in just 10 short words captures the whole experience quite perfectly.
“An aching tender madness, rich, textured, incurable watermark of love.”