I’ve been thinking a lot about motherhood in the past few weeks. My daughter Presley will be home from her first year of college soon. I’m happy, thankful, relieved – and so eager to have her home again, even for a couple of short months. I find myself thinking a lot about my friend’s sister, who recently lost her own daughter, just a few years older than Presley, to a long and painful illness. I hope that she’ll be okay, this first Mother’s Day without her daughter; and I think about how lucky I am – and pray that Presley will live a long and healthy life.
But I also think about how tricky this whole motherhood thing is. I was essentially whooped the day Presley was born. She had me at that first look, that long initial gaze, our eyes locked, Presley’s so innocent and yet so intense – and I knew at that very moment that life was good.
And then Presley started to cry, a piercing scream, at a decibel level I could not imagine possible. She was so tiny and I was so terrified to hold or bathe her for fear I’d somehow drop her. I recall the day I was left alone with my daughter for the very first time and I put her diaper on wrong – both inside out and backwards. Somehow or other, though, I managed to figure it all out and together we braved our way through the colic, the terrible twos and even the teen years.
Presley’s photos and artwork adorn the walls and shelves of our house. She calls them clutter – but for my husband Joe and me they’re precious treasures. I ponder the many Mother’s Day gifts she’s given me through the years and for some reason one in particular stands out. Presley couldn’t have been more than five years old and had chosen for me a bright red lipstick. So excited she was with her present, that she decided to open it up and try it out to make sure it worked, only to lose the lipstick cap in the process. But that didn’t seem to faze Presley. She wrapped the tube up, all lumpy and lopsided and capless, as only a five year old could wrap a package, and presented it to me, her face beaming with joy.
A heartfelt gift, perfectly imperfect; a metaphor for motherhood.
After nineteen years, I’ve come to the conclusion that being a mom is both an art and a science, at once awe-inspiringly beautiful and frustratingly experimental. At times I think it’s miraculous that we’ve both survived.
And so, I want to offer best wishes to all Moms this Mother’s Day weekend. Kudos to you for your strength, your patience, your wisdom, and your sense of adventure. Like me, you were never given a road map for this journey — thanks for hanging on through the ride.