I never fully appreciated my mother until I gave birth myself. Looking into my daughter’s eyes for the first time was overwhelming. This breathing, beautiful baby had come from my own body! That sense of miraculous wonder has never left me in the 23 years since. Nor have I lost sight of the responsibility that comes from bringing a child into the world.
That is the nature of a mother. She nests deep. It is not just the breath of life she breathes into you. It is the breaths that you also take from her; the ones she held as you took your first steps, the ones she used up giving hours of advice and encouragement, the ones you knocked out of her whether you stumbled or soared and the ones she continues to hold as you navigate your own life.
Mothers endure as steadfastly as the robin I have watched for weeks in my garden. First, there were the endless trips for mud and straw and sticks to fashion her nest. Then she nestled deep and laid her eggs. Through several rainstorms and long days of gusty wind, she hovered over them until first one and then the others hatched. As each emerged from its shell, she carried the broken pieces far away to fool predators. For ceaseless hours, she remained, wings spread over their tiny, downy bodies to keep them warm, even as she shivered.
Once a child is born, a mother’s life is never again just hers. She is forever tied like a mast to the ships of her children. Beyond all hope, she wants those ships to sail, just as the robin wants her young to fly. So, on this Mother’s Day, remember that the most joyous sound to her ears will be your voice. The loveliest sight to her eyes will be your smile and the greatest gift you can give her is a life well and honorably lived.