We all have or had at least one. “To be” is to “have been born” into this world in the body of one. We had a birth mother.  We had those who bore us physically and then we had one or more “mothers” who birthed our soul’s song. We have had and have women in our lives who have hidden us in their womb of grace and nourished our fragile and vulnerable selves.

This season we celebrate these women. Some of us celebrate them by inviting them into our presence for dinner or throwing a grandkid party. But, others of us can only celebrate them by inviting their spirit into our memory. These women who have born us and borne our burdens with us are no longer physically with us. We can only remember.

And there is so much to remember. Mothers have dared to confront our dangerous behavior and we remember not liking them very much. We also remember times when we were sick and they sat beside our bed deep into the night. We remember their lack of patience on some occasions and we remember how they kept showing up, year after year, to support us in our uneven growth into self-agency.  Those of us who have parented children can’t help but marvel at how much self-doubt is present in the heart of a parent as we try to do the best thing for these little ones. And then we think of how much our mothers might have struggled to figure out the best way to help us in our emotional rollercoaster of maturing. We remember their persistent presence even when their bodies were rebelling and their hearts were broken. 

This season I remember and celebrate both the courage of my mother to do the tough work of discipline as well as the thousands of tender mercies that were showered on me —most of which I took for granted. I know my memory is faulty but I am choosing to remember with gratitude the mother who gave me breath and who taught my heart to sing.