Mom, life’s greatest gift.
My MIL (mother-in-law) recently celebrated her birthday. It has been customary for the family to gather around her every year over good food, fond story-telling and memorable laughters.
There’s tears this year, though.
My MIL candidly told us stories about her child-rearing and raising a family. She choked in tears as she recalled how she raised eight children while being a dutiful wife and a dedicated public school teacher. She talked of her sacrifices and pains as she gave her best years to motherhood. The grandchildren listened to her innocently. My children looked at her with loving eyes. Her children injected her words with jabs of anecdotal one liners to keep her from crying hard. Her husband patiently listens. I looked at her in admiration. Let her have her moment.
Every mother can speak of their ultimate sacrifice for their children. With each story comes unique, personal feelings that are simply beyond words. Perhaps, only one mother can understand fully what another mom really feels.
I once thought that when all the kids are grown and into their own lives, my motherhood role will eventually slow down. A more experienced mother told me, “I’m sorry to break the news dear, but it never really ends.” I realize she is right.
What would be the real rewards to motherhood? Is it finally when your children graduate from school, having solid careers of their own? Is it when they successfully raise a family of their own? Is it when they go places and travel abroad? Is it when they make their own choices and are able to carry on strongly with the choices they have made? Is it when they come back to you in the light of your years amidst their busy lives?
What is the reward, really?
To me, the reward for my motherhood journey, I find within myself. That unspeakable kind of love that almost bursts inside you. That infinite affection that goes beyond limits unimagined. That great, top-of-the-world feeling of pride evoked by certain moments. That strength of faith and unwavering acceptance demanded by circumstances. Only a mother understands how one can feel all these.
With a mother, there is always love, in spite of, despite of and even ifs. Like this, I love and honor my mother, in spite of, despite of and even if, along with beautiful things she has shown me about love and life.
And perhaps the best way to honor and love our mothers is to love others the best way that we can. To raise families as they have shown us or better. To nurture life, whether our children’s or the lives of others. Let us live with the kind of love that always brings light even to the darkest moments.
This kind of love, I learned from mom.