I always thought I was tough. I was raised to think I could do anything my older brothers could, be anything I wanted to be. I was decent enough at sports and held my own with the boys just fine. I was also pretty sure of who I was in my early twenties. At least I thought I was. Ok, I was. But that person ceased to exist when I was 22, and my mom passed away. You can’t front like got you this when your mom dies. You lose that swagger, and it was pretty central to my persona at the time. I had to reinvent myself, try to understand life without her counsel. It was at this time that I began to understand and appreciate the strength of mothers.
I had a strange path to this epiphany. It did not begin with the birth of my first child, as it does for many women. At a time when my friends were partying and traveling and dating like mad, I needed to figure out how to get through. So, after a few false starts (smoking, because you know, no one was there to tell me not to), drinking too much (same thing, watch this mom! ), and dating a string of losers (yeah, yeah, ok everyone who remembers these specimens, you were right after all), I started to mother myself. I didn’t see any choice in the matter, and I learned early about being accountable for myself and my well being. I screwed up all the time (still do) but recognized that my observation was accurate; no one was going to notice my daily messes and mistakes except for me so why not grow up about it all and be the woman she raised me to be. She had, after all, given me every lesson I needed in the short time I had with her. Most importantly, lived in such a way that I could not help but be inspired by her strength and grace. And smile. That smile.
This is for the moms. The ones we have inside ourselves. For ourselves. Because that’s the real strength. Taking care of yourself to the point that you are healthy and strong enough to be a wonderful mother, friend, sister, wife, daughter. Knowing that it is not only ok but critical to step up and mother yourself. It is pivotal to being the woman I think most women want to be. It is centering. It is what our moms want/ed for us.
I can only imagine the strength it took my mom to let go, knowing that she would miss all those milestones we all wait patiently for as we diaper and wipe up and drive home yet again. I know the strength it took me to mother myself through Axel’s birth, to decide that I wanted to labor, that I needed to for me and for him. For me, it was the right way through the fire, and the only way I could come out at least a little bit intact. I certainly see the strength my friends show me everyday as they mother their broods through thick and thin. And I sincerely, deeply appreciate the mothering my friends do for me, when they stand in for Eva and remind me that it’s ok to say no, that I am doing the best I can, or that my heart is in the right place even though I had to make the tough decision.
Tack Mamma, for those lessons in mothering. When everyone thought you were so soft and sweet I saw your strength and I took notes.
Those notes, they have served me well.
What a beautiful remembrance about your mom… I know she is proud! Have an amazing Mother’s Day Amy!
Thanks so much Malia! Sorry to have missed you last night, but hope you had a great time with the family. Happy Mother’s Day to you!
She was truly unique and the best of all.
Very true Dad. I love you so. And you were there every step of the way. I am so grateful to have you.
AMY! This was amazing. You have been through so much in your short life and your still standing strong. I’m so proud of you. You are truly a warrior. Happy Early Mother’s Day. I love you.
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To my fellow warrior mom, thanks honey. You are an inspiration, and I am so glad that you and I started our adventures in pregnancy at almost the same time. Feel like we have gone through it together. It hasn’t been easy, but I know you agree its well worth that challenges. Love you so and cannot wait to see you this summer. Kiss those kids from me. Happy Mother’s Day!
what a remarkable woman she must have been, and how clearly proud you are that she is your mother! Happy Mother’s Day, x
Thanks so much Heather…same to you! You remind me a lot of my mom in some ways, you have that same spirit of friendship and warmth she had in spades. So glad to know you.
So moving! You are an amazing woman – so proud of you. Happy Mother’s Day!
Thank you Susan, and to you! For Mother’s Day I am going to put my feet up so I won’t be seeing you but see you bright and early tomorrow. Hope you have the wonderful day you so deserve, and thank you for everything you do for us!
My dear old friend Marnie Nicholson wrote this to me, and I post it here with her permission: Hey Amy! Just a note to tell you how much I am valuing your Oscar Diaries. They are inspiring. Now that I am about to graduate from med school I realize that no matter the accomplishment [good god that was no small feat] there will always be another challenge to conquer or at least survive, and so the need for inspiration and encouragement continues as well. Loved the self- mothering article and several others. You are no lightweight! Cheers and Congrats! -Marnie
Such a beautiful post, a touching remembrance of a mother who sounds amazing and a celebratory reminder to embrace the mother within. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for reading Shari- and for your kind thoughts.
Thanks for reading Shari! It means a lot to me, as do your lovely comments.