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To my mother and all the mothers around the world – Thank you

Dear Mother,

I’ve never thanked you for all the support you’ve given me in life – for the birthdays you made special and for pushing me to be my best, for allowing me to do more and be more and experience more than you were allowed to do and be and experience as you were growing up.

I didn’t know how to thank you enough for the less noticeable “mom” stuff, the stuff I don’t remember or couldn’t understand until now. So thank you Mom for…

Thank you, Mom, for enduring the anxiety and discomfort of pregnancy, and the pain and uncertainty and exhilaration and terror of labor, to bring me into the world.

Thank you for overcoming your frustrations when I whiny or overtired or sick to keep caring for me when you felt like your deep well of mother’s tenderness had surely run dry.

Thank you, Mom, for my siblings. Thank you for finding within yourself the ability to love all of us equally yet differently. And thank you for instilling in us respect for and allegiance to one another.

Thank you for working so hard to put food on the table for every meal, every day – even when it was met with complaints or our downright refusal to eat it.

Thank you for enduring the exhaustion that comes with caring for more than one child.

Thanks for folding laundry at midnight because that was the only free time you had to do it. And thanks for giving up whatever it was you would have liked to do with that precious free time, in favor of making sure your kids had clean clothes to wear the next day.

Thank you for bearing the days when the whining and fussing of multiple children seemed enough to send you running for the hills. Thank you for the sacrifices you made to be home with us as much as you could be, even in those tiny secret moments when you wished to be somewhere – anywhere – else.

Thank you for forcing us to share, but never making us feel like there wasn’t enough of you to go around.

Thank you for teaching us that taking turns is one of the most important and universally necessary skills to have. And thanks for teaching us manners, for instilling in us respect for every living thing and showing us how to be compassionate.

Thank you for introducing me to God, for praying with me and for me, and for helping me to recognize that still, small voice inside me that has so much power.

Thank you for teaching me how to write my name, put on my own shirt, wash my hands… and all the other little skills you taught me when I was too little to thank you for them.

Thanks for hanging in there once I figured out how to open, close and lock doors, jump, climb, run, plot, scheme, lie and hide. And thanks for putting up with every single debate over how many more bites of sukama wiki and ugali I had to eat before I went to bed.

Thanks for pushing aside the self-doubt when it creeped in, and for hanging in there when you weren’t sure you could.

Thanks for the prayers you whispered and the tears I’m sure you shed, Mom, in quiet moments after losing your patience. Thank you for somehow hanging onto the belief that parenting is a journey and a process, not a test we pass or fail.

Thank you for carrying for me when I needed you again.

Happy Mother’s Day!