Here’s to mothers I have known:

My own mother who loved me into being, who spoke truths into me that I became. The person I am always travelling from and also toward, no matter my journey.

Her mother. 

My sister-in-law who is my sister. Who mothers my kids. Who taught herself how to be a mother. Who is the mother she needed, the mother she chooses to be, the cycle breaker.

My aunt who came from Vietnam.

My friends. The one who mothers me whose children I mother.

The one who mothers alone.

The one who chose to stay for the sake of her children.

The one who chose to leave for the sake of her children.

The one who mothers another woman’s child as her own.

The one who became a mother when she was a child and grew up with her children.

The one who makes it all look so easy.

The one for whom it all seems so hard, but she doesn’t give up.

My students. The one who nods off in my class because she worked all day then cooked supper and helped with homework and played Candyland and gave baths and tucked in and then studied but didn’t sleep.

The one who took a bullet–literally–for her kids.

The one who reads Shakespeare standing with a baby on her hip and types a paper with another one on her lap.

The one who came back to school at 75 to show her grandkids it’s important.

The one who came to school after losing a factory job because the kids need food and shoes and clothes and she is brave.

The one who took on her sister’s kids when she already had three of her own.

The one who gave her baby up for adoption and just found her again after 20 years.

The one who speaks little English. The one who has been in jail. The one who grieves for the child who is gone. The one so joyful to share she is pregnant. The ones–all of them–so determined to give their children a better life.

The lady at my church with no children who is everyone’s mother.

The grandma in the mother’s role again.

The teacher who is a safe place for her students.

The doctor who misses time with her own kids because she takes care of ours.

The soldier.

The mayor.

The cashier.

The coach.

The CNA.

The cancer fighter.

The one whose hands burn from the chemicals in her salon.

The mother in the nursing home.

The mother with MS.

The mother who worries about how she’s failed her children.

The mother who is happy.

The mother who is proud.

The mother who does her best and hopes it will be enough.

For all of the mothers, grace to you. And peace. 

And love. 

Thanks.

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