Sunday, May 10, 2015

Finally Friday Week 14: Celebrating Motherhood In All Its Forms

"We are born of love; Love is our mother."— Rumi

Today is Mother's Day and it also happens to be my 12th anniversary. It's rare for my wedding anniversary and Mother's Day to fall on the same day, but this year it happened.

This year I wanted to spend time with my mother and celebrate an important day with my husband. Luckily, I was able to do both.

My mother wanted to go to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island on Saturday for the afternoon, so we met her there and enjoyed a short time together. Afterwards, my husband and I spent a wonderful 12th anniversary together. We rented a beach bungalow across the bridge from Bainbridge in Suquamish. We brought crabs and wine and ate out on the gorgeous deck watching sailboats go by. Eagles soared above our heads and an otter took a nap on a floating dock in the distance.

Since my anniversary fell on Mother's Day this year, I began to ponder this day a bit more. I am so thankful that my mother is here in Washington State and I get to see her more often than I used to when I lived overseas for about 10 years.

As I scrolled through my Facebook updates when I got home, I found that the vast majority of them were about how people spent this special day devoted to mothers. There were brunches, breakfasts in bed, trips to gardens, homemade cards, hand-bought cards, poems, flowers, photos, etc. I even put a photo of my mother and me at Bloedel Reserve up on my page.

While mothers were brunching and opening handmade cards, I was snuggling with my husband in our beach bungalow. He got up later and turned on some romantic French music and made me the most delicious breakfast. I never get tired of our time together and every year, in fact, I find more reasons to celebrate life, not just on our anniversary!

Was it a coincidence that I got married almost on Mother's Day?

Truthfully, I was in South Korea for my wedding and Mother's Day isn't really celebrated. In fact, it's combined with Father's Day and is called Parent's Day and it's celebrated on May 8th. I find this an interesting cultural difference. In South Korea, raising children is often done by many people. My husband was raised by his grandparents and lived with them until he left the nest. It's not an individual effort, it's a group effort. In South Korea, if a woman gets on a bus with two or three children, it is not unusual for a complete stranger to stand up and take one of the children by the hand until the mother is ready to get off the bus. They say, "It takes a village," and I observed this in Korea.

My husband and I never really talked about having children. Lots of people said, "Oh, just wait. You will want to have a few of your own as you get older." But that feeling never really came for either of us. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore children and I think they enjoy their time with me too. I am a great babysitter, a pretty fun aunt to my nephews and get a kick out of my best friend's twins, but I never felt the need to make my own children. I felt like there were so many lovely children out there already—so many I could share in loving. My husband makes cute noises and funny faces at every baby he sees, just about. He never hesitates to engage in conversation with a kid. I love this about him.

 So I started to think of motherhood and maternity on a larger plane. What is a mother? On the physical plane, most would agree that it is a person who has kids. Or some may even argue that is is a person who has a pet dog, cat, bird or lizard. My stepmom did not have kids of her own, but she is a pretty good mom to a very sweet bird who she loves dearly (and that bird has had a seriously long life!) and she is a wonderful stepmom.

On a spiritual plane, I feel as if I have been a mother for countless lives. In fact, I get glimpses of this in my dreams. I wonder if there was a maternal connection to my husband in a past life. Maybe we were all once mothers in one form or another. The instinct is there to nurture. We can nurture ourselves just as gently as we would nurture a newborn. We can also nurture the planet and all forms of life that exist on it. By doing this, I believe we connect to all life on a very deep level. It's here where we are not separate—it's here where we are all children of mother earth doing our own share.

Today I celebrate motherhood in all its forms—whether you are a parent to a beautiful child, dog, cat or bird. I celebrate you today for the nurturing you offer. Whether it is tending to a garden, taking care of and elderly parent, making the planet a better place to live, offering your gifts to this world through writing, speaking, art or in any other way. And this day may also hold a lot of grief for you too. Maybe you have lost your mother, sister or child. Maybe it conjures up memories you'd just as soon forget. Maybe the day is bittersweet.

Whether you celebrated or grieved or reminisced today, this day is also for you. For every moment you have nurtured, cared, loved, offered your gifts, or tended to anyone or anything, I celebrate YOU!


  1. What is a mother? that is a great question. I am a mother to my children but also I feel I was a mother to my pets as well as friends of my kids. Even to another mother you can be a mother. Giving our love and attention to anyone is being a mother to me!

    I lost my Mom 18 years ago and Mother's Day is still hard. On the bright side I still have my beautiful mother-in-law with us. Even though she lives far away we celebrate her on Mother's Day and many other days.

    1. I agree Karen :) Thanks for your comment.