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The Gifts of Motherhood

Motherhood – 5-10-2020 – Mothers Day Lise Knouse

On this Mother’s Day, I feel especially grateful first, that I chose to embrace motherhood wholeheartedly, and second, I am grateful for each of my four children that came as a result of that choice. I understand that the path of motherhood is not every woman’s path, nor should it be. For me, though, it has been a sacred journey of learning to let go and let God. It is a process, not an arrival. So what are the gifts of motherhood?

One of the first lessons is, to learn to put another’s need ahead of our own. A baby’s need is immediate and cannot be put on hold. What they want, they need and mothers learn to give unreservedly – to comfort when the baby cries, to feed the baby when they themselves are exhausted, to love without restraint. Putting someone else’s true needs ahead of our own teaches us resilience, it teaches compassion and it teaches us objectivity. We learn to care for and support the magnificence of life.

Motherhood teaches us to slow down and smell the roses. Anyone who has followed a toddler around knows how they delight in the smallest things, a ladybug on a leaf, a feather floating through the air, a buzzing, bumblebee, or a trail of ants. Young children have endless curiosity about the world – they stop, look, sniff, touch, listen, and question. This frees us in a small way to see and experience the wonder of the world through their eyes.

Motherhood teaches us patience. As we watch our children learn to read, ride a bike or climb the jungle gym and drum up the courage to go down the slide, we learn to be patient with them as they go through their individual process toward mastery. As a result, we learn to be more patient with ourselves knowing we each had our own unique, challenges, and individual journey.

We learn that we know everything and nothing. The 10-year-old thinks his mother is the absolute smartest person in the world. The fourteen-year-old, embarrassed by everything about his mother, try pretending he doesn’t even have a mother.

We learn to listen, to appreciate different points of view and above all, not to take ourselves too seriously. That teenager who seems to know everything, challenges everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you believe – things that seem so obvious that of course, everyone understands to be true, the teenager will turn upside down and backward. It is part of their process and we must learn to allow, to let go of righteousness, anger, and judgment, to love, love, and love unconditionally trusting that all is well no matter how it looks at the moment. Because some moments in this process are not pretty. We must learn to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we inevitably make.

Now, the lesson is to let go of them and trust they will find their way. To give up control, affirm what is good and decent and strong and let them go to follow their own star. In letting them go, we hold them close with no strings attached. And, as a mother, we learn to accept and appreciate every interaction, no longer their teacher, their caretaker but their friend.

I had no idea when I first felt the beautiful, pulsing life force growing within me that birthing each little, tiny, wet, and noisy being would take me on the most wondrous adventure of my life as I watched each precious soul, minute by minute, day by day, month by month and year by year blossom and unfold finally into adulthood. Now I look back and wonder, How did the time pass so quickly? It seems they were just babies yesterday and now they are beautiful, fully grown adults. My role is no longer as immediate, yet I am still absorbing new lessons in motherhood as I continue to learn that change is the one constant in life that is augmented by ongoing love and appreciation for the individual potential they are each approach. And my container of love expands as I learn to include, appreciate and love the ones they each choose to love and partner within life.

The gifts I gained through embracing motherhood without reservation, serve me in every aspect of my life, every day of my life and for that, I feel humbled and boundlessly grateful. For me, Motherhood/mothering is ultimately and profoundly precious.


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