The first language you learn is your mother’s heartbeat.
Your first steps are in the direction of the woman who raised you, and then you spend the rest of your life walking with what they taught you. Whomever you decide to crown as your mother, it is because she was your first pure friend. She’s dried the tears that held your entire life and watched as your heart changed. She’s been there for your ideas, the big ones, the bad ones, the best ones.
She’s even caught you on a few off days and forgave you for the way you yelled. She always has band-aids for everything from bruises to broken hearts and her advice sounds different. It’s as though you’ve heard it before; like it’s a part of you. One day, before you even realize it, you’ve become all the moments that motherhood gave to you. And you wonder, how in the world you could ever thank her for that.
I asked people from around the world to share what they admired most about their mothers. Additionally, I asked mothers how they, too, felt about motherhood. The results were astounding, humbling, and inspiring — just as the women whom they were about. Motherhood introduces itself to us in different ways. Sometimes she’s the woman who teaches you the lesson that’s hard to bear. Or the person who’s always in the crowd cheering you on. Other times, motherhood is your dad trying his best. Or the woman beside you, when you are crying and ill, telling you that you are capable of healing. Sometimes motherhood doesn’t arrive until you truly need her, but when she does, mountains move.
So here it is, proper praise for the women who build this word with their motherhood.
This is a collection of ‘one time’s that have made up my entire life; of stories and moments that I will carry with me forever. This is an acknowledgment for your resilience, for finding everything to give to me even when we had nothing. To your kindness and empathy, for hearing the hurt in my teenage heart, even though I know you had burdens bigger than mine. For the weight in your words that travelled across an ocean to remind me, when I thought that everything had fallen apart, that “everything will work out because it has to.”
Thank you for leading by example, for being a role model and a teacher at the same time. Thank you for your forgiveness and your dedication. For being open-minded and growing with me even when it felt like we were growing apart. I know that the generations between us change the way we see the same problems.
Thank you for answering the phone, even if it had been years since we last spoke. For remembering the dates of my appointments, recitals, games, and tests, because I sure couldn’t.
Thank you for making me one of your dreams while your others waited for me to grow. You have no idea how much your love has nourished me. Because of you, I know how breath in this busy world, how to manage anything that comes my way — good or bad, and how to persevere even when I am afraid to. You taught me that there is no such thing as distance when you are caring for a child and that opportunity is a necessity that you will find anywhere possible, including a foreign country with an unfamiliar language. You are always thinking on your feet and teaching me to walk without even realizing it.
Because of you, I know my worth.
Thank you for guiding people into my life when you had to leave. Thank you for teaching me how to pray, and for always being the angel to hear me. God knows I could not have done any of this without your spirit guiding me. Thank you for teaching me patience, continuously. Through you, I know that I can still be calm in rough waters and that I can listen even if I don’t like what I hear. Thank you for showing me love as deep as this. Before you, I didn’t think anything in the world could feel as magical as your care. You taught me what kind of love I deserve and the power of the love that I can give.
Thank you for finding me when I couldn’t find myself — when I needed you most. For changing my life; for making it bigger. You have taught me that I can live on beyond my years and that every moment mattered because it brought me to you. Our connection will never severe, for I came from you, and through you, I will live on.
Dear Motherhood, I owe you everything that I am.