It comes as a surprise. It's happened more than once and still, it shocks me a little, pricks at the corner of my eyes. It catches in my chest the way all the best feelings do, the ones that barrel into my consciousness, expanding out from my heart in a blink, filling my entire being with attention and awareness. In the first moment, it's awesome. In the next it's awful because I know what it is and I know that I didn't ask for it but I don't know what I'd do if it left me.
It's mother love.
It's love plain and simple and powerful. It's syrupy so that when the heat of it finally burns off I feel a little silly about it all. I feel like everyone who was not a part of what I just experienced can see it on me, a residue of intimacy, a sticky aura that makes me both an object to smile at, indulgently, and at the same time someone to giggle at, just a little. Was I really just overcome with emotion? Have I no control over my feelings?
Love is not the place at which mothers come to rest. Love happens to us. And love is the thing, the thing above all else, that makes us mothers. That's the magic of it. You can birth your baby or adopt your baby or lose and mourn and bury your baby. That's not what makes you a mother. What makes you a mother, the single thing that legitimizes you for all time, is the unexpected, unbidden, here in a white hot flash love that steals upon you from the inside out. Some of us feel it when we look into our babies' faces and cannot for the life of us look away. Some of us feel it when we sign the final line on adoption papers and say to the child our hearts knew we needed, "we are home now, we are your home, it's us." Some of us feel it in the excruciating pain of the baby we had started to love before we even named it, the baby we won't hold, or that we only get to hold for too short a time. In that terrible darkness we realize the tiny light in the distance is love, unexpected, unbidden love.
A mother's love is not limited to an outward sign. It's not a bugling belly or a toddler in hand or a cross hanging from our necks, a small reminder of a child we held in blessed arms, invisible hands that in our heart and souls. But it's also not limited to our own children. When we are teachers and confidantes, protectors and coaches of people we come to care about in such a way that their value is immeasurable to us, their safety important, their joy our laughter, their sorrows our tears, those, too are our children. They might be students or neighborhood kids, nieces or nephews, grandchildren or any number of small people we meet and grow close with. We can't know when they will become our children, too, when we will recognize that we are also their mother, even if they already have one.
But loves knows. And unbidden, unexpected, it blooms hot and wild in our chest and then we understand what it means to be the mother to a child. It means to have love visit us, sticky and sweet and binding, and to hold us so that we feel awed and awful, amazed by the gift of it and scared of the weight of it. We'd eat it up, we love it so.
This Mother's Day, let go of the false idols and myths of motherhood. Let go of guilt or shame. Let go of infertility, loss, disappointment. Let go of overbearing pride. Let go of the image you've been holding yourself to, the one of the mother who is everything, always, to all of her children. Let go of trying to control and contrive motherhood. And let yourself know and rest in the knowledge that you don't become a mother, motherhood comes to you, a flame in your very core that tests you and proves you, like precious metal in a fire, and connects you in the most special way to a precious child.
It's mother love and it's magic and it's what we all want most for Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day from me and Luvs diapers. For years now I've been working with them to spread love and joy to parents who have been in the trenches and have lived to tell about it. We are usually veteran parents, we Luvs lovers, who are less fussy about sterilizing the pacifier after it drops to the floor for the millionth time, and more fussy about seeing our second (or third or fourth or . . .) kid off to preschool for the first time because we know now that it's not about capturing a great picture for Instagram, it's about showing up in case that fluttery, hot feeling bubbles up on our hearts and, embarrassingly, flows out of our eyes. It's okay, we don't mind crying in public now, we understand that those are the best moments.
So, to celebrate this wonderful love, Luvs would like to give one of my readers a $50 gift card. Just enter with the Rafflecopter below. Contest ends at 12 am on 5/16/17. Even if you don't win, you can get a coupon for $1 off of any one diaper pack of Luvs with NightLock.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Luvs, the official diaper of experienced moms (and dads, too) is sharing the luv and offering a great money-saving opportunity with a $1 print-at- home coupon.
o Visit http://www.coupons.com/brands/luvs-coupons/ to access a Luvs coupon of $1 off any one diaperpack.
o Print-at- Home coupons expire 30 days from the date the coupon is printed by the consumer.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The official diaper of experienced parents, Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™ are softer and more absorbent than before, with large stretch tabs for easy fastening, ultra-leakage protection and a money-back guarantee. Luvs provides features babies and parents need for less cost than premium brands.
*This post is sponsored by Luvs, the pay me to write about motherhood, the good, the bad, the stinky, and the sentimental. I agree to it because I really, really like their diapers---I used them on my own kids. All opinions are my own.