I've come a long way from the pained little girl who sat alone with her thoughts and angst. She sought a love that would never be found, but would eventually be redefined.
The meaning of her mother's love felt conditional. It was critical, and it took from her more than it gave.
But there was love once. And she felt it.
There was love in every diaper change.
There was love in the sleepless nights.
There was love in the cuddles of the morning.
There was love in the kisses goodnight.
There was love once. There still is. But the love has changed.
It has been redefined into a series of memories that are cherished from afar.
The love is distant but lives deep within the sacred parts of her heart.
The love grows as her soul evolves and attempts to understand the unimaginable.
And the love stays locked in a vault, as a reminder of where she came from.
She used to think she wouldn't know how to be a mother, or love quite as well as the others, due to her jaded view.
But she was wrong.
That little girl grew up to be a woman who was strong.
She reinvented what it meant to be "her." She was no longer a victim, but a survivor. She was no longer weak, but had immeasurable strength.
She transcended into an unrecognizable woman.
And that woman is me.
I am a mother, a really good mother. My love is unconditional and accepting. My love overflows into my children and fills them with joy and hope.
My love shines in the darkness, and grows in the light. And it gives something to my children that can't be put into words.
My love is compassionate, but has boundaries.
It has learned that this mothering thing is hard, and we're all just doing the best we can.
It has learned that life is a learning process. We begin, we live, and we end. But the living part is the only thing I'm sure of in this moment. It's the only choice I've got in all of this.
How do I want to live this miraculous gift of life?
Being a mother has been the biggest gift, along with the lessons. I can't change what has been. All I can do is choose what I want to do with it in the present.
And what I know about Mother's Day is that it's not a day where I must seek my mother out and celebrate her with an awkward phone call, or a gift with conflicted feelings attached.
No, it's a day where I get to reflect on our good memories. I get to take them out of the vault, tell stories of her to my children, and enjoy my life as a mother. I get to celebrate myself with two boys who still see me as the most important person on this earth. I get to live in the moment with them, and not take a single second for granted.
My mother gave me that gift. She reminds me over and over with my own memories that time spent on anything but love, is time wasted.
Being a mother is all about the love.
There's nothing more important than the love.
And what I know on Mother's Day is the love.
The love then, and the love now, no matter how it's defined.
Originally published on Appetite for Honesty.