I marvel at the love a mother has for her child. When she puts her sticky hand in mine to walk across the street, I get a catch in my throat. When she snuggles herself up against my chest and puts her head under my chin, the smell of her hair brings a wave of joy and sorrow surging through my chest.
Motherloving is letting go, slowly, surely. I don't want to keep my daughter from growing up. I want to see her experience climbing a tree, riding a bike, reading, the joy of girlhood friends, the awkward braces/glasses years, and eventually, I want her to experience the love of a man and to know how to cherish someone in return.
And, yes, I want her to be a mother someday because only then can she ever truly understand how much I love her, truly understand what I would do for her. It's selfish, of course, but I think all mothers must feel that way--to have our daughters understand why we do what we do and to know that it's always meant out of love.
But sometimes--no, all the time--I want her to do her growing up a little more slowly.
Why is childhood the shortest time of our lives? Why must we power through these magical toddler years of "Why" and "How" and "I love yous" whispered into my ears before bed. I want her to stay three for two more years to soak up all that being three means. And I'm fairly positive I'll feel the same way about four, five, six, ten, fourteen and beyond.
But this day always makes me think of mothers around the world, too. Until I became a mother and had a taste of motherlove, I had no concept of how much love is in the world. When we hear of current events and news around the the world, it's tragedies--bombs, war, stealth, killing. What we don't hear enough of is the day-to-day love that exists around the world because we are all humans and, when it comes right down to it, motherlove is the same the world over. Every Mother's Day, newpapers run human interest pieces about motherhood around the world to remind us that love does exist everywhere and is in everything--even the places (and the people) seemingly most forsaken by both God and man.
Many of the women I work with have lost babies and children during the course of their lives. We all know the statistics of neonatal, infant and child mortality rates. We know that it is a dangerous occupation around the world to be a child. But nothing is like hearing a story from the mouth of the mother. Then it becomes real. There is suddenly a name on the tongue to one of those 105.56 per 1000 live births that died last year in Somali.
Tragic stories of broken children and broken mothers who healed, but only partially, whose hearts are still raw, even all these years and miles passed. Children shouldn't die before mothers. Mothers' hearts are already exposed to the world at large. We should never have to feel that unnatural pain, that loss that rips a woman's already-exposed heart out of her chest.
Today is the day that I think of all mothers and rejoice that we are blessed enough to feel this motherlove and I hope for the day that will never come that mothers around the world need not fear the pain of losing a child.