Today is Mother's Day. My kids have traditionally really enjoyed making a day of this for me, and this year that was true for Soren. Emma not so much; she made cookies last week with her dad for me, but was grouchy today, and didn't feel called to make a card this year. Jude and Lucy of course are too little to honor me like the Goddess I am (ha!), so I was a little disappointed, but all in all it was a good day.
The sermon today was of course on mothers and as always, got me thinking about my path and who I am. Some moms want to use Mother's Day as a chance to be pampered and get space from their kids, and have some time for themselves. I'm one that enjoys spending the day as a family, because to me, the kids are who created the part of me that is Mother.
I define myself in so many ways, and often resist parenting and other kinds of labels (large family, attachment parent, liberal, hippie, mainstream, what have you...), but mom is not just a label, but is much of who I am, and how I got to be who I am today. Mothering has defined how I approach community building, what I believe about what culture and society should look like, and what kind of person I want to be and model.
Motherhood and how it changed me was probably the largest first step I took on a spiritual path. Soren wrote me a card today entitled "I love you because..." I have some Becauses of my own.
Because of my kids, I figured out how selfish I was. I figured out what kind of wife I wanted to me, and what kind of relationship I wanted in a life partner. Because of my kids, I sought out a spiritual community, and took the first steps toward recognizing that inner voice calling me to the ministry. Because of my kids, I learned mundane things, like how to cook, clean, and truly multi-task. Because of my kids, I learned about reflective listening and non-violent communication. Because of my kids, I took a hard look at traditional schooling and decided that homeschooling was the path for our family.
I think most importantly, because of my kids, I learned that the heart has an unlimited capacity for love. It grows and expands with each person that we add to our biological or virtual family, and I learned that there is always room for one more at the table. Without the title of Mother, I would not be the woman I am today, and I believe, would be much less of a woman.
Kaaren's sermon today quoted someone (I think it may have been Barbara Kingsolver). She said, "The way we treat children defines the world we'll wake up in tomorrow." Do we want to defend our nuclear family model, and our individualistic culture that takes us further and further away from religious and societal plurality? Motherhood is defined by worry, hope and anxiety, Kaaren says. And I think that she meant not just for our children, but for the world.
Church can be our home - the place that we find solidarity, comfort, community, plurality, and love.
Her final message was to, as a human being, love someone fiercely. Loving someone fiercely has consequences.
I often tell my kids that I love them so much that my heart hurts. And that's true. I also feel like that about the world. That's why I want to become a minister. I want to reach out to the world with that love that overflows my heart. I want to make a difference. Every step on my career path has been about making a difference and reaching people. It has led me on a journey not to career, but to a life transformation. Motherhood is the great definer of that. And my family will have to make sacrifices in order for me to be a minister (an entirely different post). But my heart is full for my family and for my extended world family.
So Happy Mother's Day to all those who mother their children, and mother the world. Love fiercely.