This year it hit home that I have *THREE* amazing mothers who brought my family into being. Other than myself of course. My mother, my husband's mother, and Ava's first mother.
Oh my sweet little mommy, who during my formative years made her expectations and opinions clear, who drove us all over hell and gone to help us meet our potentials, who was when necessary tough and when required, very tender, who only wanted the best for us even when we were at our worst. Who's love and devotion was never in question, who worried too much, who always waited up, who packed sack lunches into the college years, who supplied a warm, happy, love-filled home even when we were in our brattiest, angriest, most rebellious stages. Our relationship wasn't always perfect, as relationships between teenage girls and their mothers don't tend to be. She didn't want me selling myself short. She believed I could do math when I could not. She wasn't wild about my boyfriend selections for the most part. But now I rely on my mommy more than ever. I talk to her daily. I envy her style. I don't know how she kept the house spotless every day of my life. I drop my kids off with her more often than she'd probably prefer. I can't help but spill all the gossip I have to her, vent over my work frustrations, complain about life in general, cry occasionally. She taught me to love reading, writing, quiet time, and to clean just a little bit every day. (It doesn't work as well for me however.) Happily, I know she's proud of me. I tease her often about how relieved she should be, with how we've all turned out when there were times our futures seemed so perilous. I hope she knows how much I love her and how much I need her. I hope she knows what a incredible, funny, sweet, fun mom she was and is. More fun by the minute, really. As we play family basketball and my siblings and I pick her up and trot her around the court and lift her skirt over her head when she makes a basket, I find myself thinking that truly, family is what matters most and I'm so lucky mine is so awesome.
My mother in law raised my husband from a shrieking bright red ear-infection prone baby into one of the kindest, most sensitive, hard working, humble and strong men I have ever met. She finds the good in everyone, she smiles through everything. When Charlotte stopped breathing as a 3 month old and we thought it was the end, our room in the ER was in total chaos until she arrived. And then she took little post-ictal wailing, shaking Charlotte and rocked her and hummed and smiled in her face, and Charlotte went to sleep. And we all calmed down, and stopped crying, and sat down, and when Charlotte woke up, she was herself again. That is the effect she has on everyone. Calming. Cheering. She is confident with fatally ill infants and screaming angry toddlers. She is comforting to young couples weeping over an unexpected major trial or just bummed about a little weight gain. She is kind, happy and peaceful. I am so, so lucky to have such a mother-in-law. And it's also cool that I can send my kids to her with too-big pants around their ankles and pick them up dressed in custom altered outfits.
And dear M. The first mother of my incredibly sweet, feisty, funny, beautiful Ava. M is the bravest woman I know. All she's been through, all she's endured, she is always full of hope, smiles, faith, and optimism. She is beautiful, she is funny, she is so, so smart. And good. She is at once young and wise, a student and a teacher. I am so grateful to have such a woman as part of our family, and I hope and pray Ava will grow up knowing and loving this woman who gave her birth, her beauty, her ancient heritage, and her middle name.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mommies out there, those who are, those who will be. Now or later, in this world or the next.