Thanks to my Mother: 20 Things I'm Grateful the Mothers in my Life Gave me by Just Being Themselves
First, let me say, “Happy Mother’s Day” to all the mothers and mother-figures out there. I am truly grateful to have grown up surrounded by a network of mothers, including my own, who were there for me when I needed them most. I watched many of them make great sacrifices for their children. I learned, quite unconsciously, to equate motherhood with selflessness, servitude and sacrifice for the greater good of others. It’s why when I think of having kids of my own, I know that I’d die for them without hesitation. Because that’s what mothers do.
Typically, on Mother’s Day, I, like most everybody else who celebrates the holiday, express gratitude for all the sacrifices our mothers have made to allow us to get to the point that we’ve reached today. But I recently read an interview with Shonda Rhimes that’s changed the way I’m thinking about the holiday this year. She explained that she didn’t want to be thanked for her sacrifices, but rather for the ways in which she empowered her children, particularly her daughters. She said: “I don’t want my daughters to grow up and think, ‘I should shrink and be in the background. I should be selfless. I should be sacrificing. I should be silent.’”
It’s a perspective I never really considered, but I do think it’s a valid and valuable point. So in honour of Shonda’s wise observation, I’d like to thank my mother and the mother-figures in my life for the following:
1. Teaching me to never silence my voice or dim my light for the sake of others.
2. Empowering me to be tenacious enough to chase my dreams and speak my mind.
3. Reminding me of my beauty and strength when I doubted it most.
4. Deepening my sense of self-worth.
5. Giving me the gift of humour and laughter in the face of sadness.
6. Encouraging me to enjoy life’s silly moments.
7. Teaching me to be optimistic enough to hope for the best, but wise enough to prepare for the worst.
8. Laughing with me in my highest moments and crying with me in my lowest.
9. Teaching me that it’s ok to cry in the face of adversity, but it’s not ok to give up.
10. Saving me from drowning in my own sorrows and self-pity.
11. Standing by me when I was stubborn and difficult (and probably undeserving).
12. Showing me how to be gracious to those who hurt me.
13. Allowing me to fight my own battles (but always being there for backup if I needed it).
14. Teaching me that vulnerability isn’t weakness.
15. Showing me how incredibly powerful womanhood is.
16. Preparing me for life’s challenges.
17. Leading by example.
18. Teaching me that loving myself is the most powerful thing I could do.
19. Showing me the power of forgiving myself.
20. Loving me unconditionally.
Motherhood will always require sacrifices. I know that. I’ve watched the mothers in my life give up so much for the sake of their children. But the list of things our mothers give us, simply by loving us the way that mothers do and living their lives as phenomenal women, is endless. We really ought to be thanking them more for what they give than what they give up.