Mother's Day approaches and we plan honor for the women who parent. It's a sweet holiday and it's deserved. A show of thanks for all who have labored and pushed, waited long on adoptions, wiped noses, removed sandwich crusts, snapped their heads at sassing children, worried, hoped, disciplined, kissed, prayed, loved, dreamed.
But what about the women who aren't mothers? Don't they deserve tribute? I think so.
So here's to you, women who are not mothers...
To our peers who don't have kids: You laugh and shrug when our children snatch your smart phone. You hug them and feign impressed when they "show you" their spastic leaping skills. You forgive us when our kids are rude and sullen. Thank you for never making us feel like rotten parents.
You're still our friends, despite the fact that we're in different life stages. You continue to call us, even though we repeatedly interrupt your serious conversation by yelling at our children to "be quiet" and "stop that". You trust that we care, even when our minds are scattered and we aren't the best friends anymore. You listen patiently as we obsess over breastfeeding, school choices, and play-dates. Thank you for loving us enough to stay close. Without you, we'd forget that toy recalls aren't the top news headlines, we'd never heard of our favorite band, we might forgo adult nights out, and we'd never be inspired to get out of yoga pants and into the clothes almost as stylish as yours. Thank you for keeping us relevant.
To the women in our parents' generation (who aren't parents at all): You hang coloring books on our front door handle and have the very best treats ready every Halloween. You hug our children in church lobbies, and their little chests puff with assurance that there's love in this world. You daily teach the lesson that "family" extends past its formal definition, and that occasionally, you can find undeserved favor from the sweetest of people. Your calm demeanor soothes me every time we talk. Perhaps you've never had kids under your roof, but that doesn't mean you haven't profoundly impacted the next generation. I'm watching you, I'm learning from you, and I'm praying to become a little more like you. Thank you for the legacy you leave.
To the women who are hoping to become mothers: My heart is tender to you most of all. You, who babysit friend's children when crisis strikes and they have nowhere to turn. You, who follow months of negative pregnancy tests with a trip to buy baby shower presents... and you show up at the shower, smiling, congratulating. You, whose adoption process stretches on and on... who wait for a child while others forget because your belly isn't visibly swelling in anticipation. You, who ache to hold your own child, yet embrace others' children with purity. Thank you for never letting your sorrow close you off to relationships around you.
Yes, mothers are to be celebrated. But not any more so than all of you. You contribute to our lives in beautiful ways. You, too, leave a legacy. You, too, impact the world.
This post is part of our week-long series "Moments of Motherhood." Thank you, sweet Rachel, for these thoughtful words.