The Hardest Thing In the World

I have a lot of friends who are becoming mommas, and I know a lot of mommas adjusting to new Christmas traditions as children grow up and grow their own families. So, with Christmas getting close, I thought I’d share what I wrote for my momma last Christmas. Thank you to all the amazing women who mother, whether they are your own children or the ones placed in your path.

Do you know what the hardest thing in the world is? Christmas shopping for your mom. Not because you don’t know what she likes, or what size she wears, or what she may have bought in the last few months, but because she’s your mom.

This is the woman who knows what your heartbeat feels like from the inside. This is the one who’s spilled blood and tears for you. Who’s wiped up, wrung out, washed away your own various bodily fluids. This is the person who’s carried you, physically, then spiritually, mentally, emotionally, through all the years of your life. Who sacrificed time and sleep and health to make sure you had freedom to play and explore, that you were well-rested, that you got well soon.

I stand befuddled, looking at green-stoned necklaces and plastic-wrapped CDs, wondering how, how can I give such little things to the one who has held me, my hopes, my heart with gentle and strong hands, the one who brought me into this world?

These things are merely tokens. I wish I could show her instead all the glowing memories and precious gifts she’s given me. If I could give her one gift, I think it would be this: to let her see herself through my eyes for a few moments. How every time I laugh I think of her and thank her for teaching me to laugh loud and brave. How gorgeous her face, which glows with happy smiles and glowers with protective anger. How I see now that her secret beauty is in her eyes, which sparkle with youth and always look for the chance to help, and taught me to do the same.

I wish she could see for a few moments that she taught me what Love looks like: bright, shining, turned towards heaven. I wish she could see how well she loved and let go, so this scared baby bird wouldn’t stay always at home. I wish she could see the breath-taking beauty of loving four children as different as the four seasons, of her making childhood magical, of her being the best mother-friend a girl could ask for.

I finally settled on one little thing to buy. But at Christmas, Momma, I hope you know how much I (and we) appreciate you doing the hardest thing in the world: being a momma.


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