my mamas

today is mother’s day. the rest of the year, mothers are also incredible. today is just a day to focus a year’s worth of appreciation multiplied by the years you have been alive, focus that appreciation on all the mamas in your life.

there are so many in my life.

the newest mama is the young woman i am working with as a doula-in-mentorship. she is due on tuesday, and is really one of the most beautiful, grounded people i have ever watched go through a transformation. she and her mama are a joy to behold as they grow together through this…i feel so blessed she has come into my life, and think about her, and her coming daughter, all the time.

then there is my baby sister, who is such a good mama i sometimes wonder how she could have possibly learned it. she continuously models an active selflessness that i don’t think i received in the genetic pool we share. from the moment she got pregnant, she has had this sure footing on the mama walk, even when she is clearly suffering at the hands of her sleepless angels, even when life is so unexpected with it’s challenges, she just shifts the babies around on her hips and takes charge in a new direction. the way her babies are, the confidence they have that the world is going to love and amuse them, is evidence to her ferocious love and gorgeous laughter.

this year i have been thinking of my living grandmama a lot. she is mama to 6 children including a set of twins, mema to 17, and great grandmother now to a generation. she is wife to my very particular and enormous spiritual being of a grandfather, and her life has been one day of practical love after another. when i call my grandmama to my mind she has a hand on her hip, or her arms crossed, a look on her face as she tells me what’s what. her face shows up on my face, on my mother’s face – her way of thinking and being is part of my inheritance.

on the other side of my line is the grandma who passed on, mother to seven children. she is mostly myth, this ancestor of mine. she came to me when she died, and i feel her omnipresence in my life. i see my dad see her in our faces sometimes, his mother. i feel her in my life, that stylish sexy southern woman with this undeniable face i stare at in her old photos. i love to feel her seeing my life. i hope i honor the path of her life of working so hard and giving so generously.

one of my dearest friends became a mama at the end of college and spent many years just holding life by the lapels and demanding it shake out the good life her son was damned well going to have. she has eked it out against all odds, a spacious life where her brilliant boy can be loved, smart, quirky, interesting. and she has held the door open on her own path too, not giving up on her true self as mama and scholar. she’s humble about it, but i think of her as an amazon warrior.

i think of two college friends who didn’t know each other, both of whom used to tell me all about their dreams for their lives, how they were each going on a different path than anyone expected. i remember the crisis in their eyes when they each got pregnant much earlier than planned. i remember watching something die in their eyes, and something else take it’s place over their periods of pregnancy, as they each decided that some specific door had closed for them. i saw the authentic joy with which they became mothers, and understood that the journey is so complex.

i still light a candle for their dreams sometime, to hold space for a that world that is both future and present, depending on the life and belief system you come up in, where mamas can be anything they want to be.

i think of all the mamas i work with now, who root all of their work in the very real timelines of the children they are raising. they battle, they leave blood on the mat, they un-apologetically hold these whole lives with just two hands and unweary hearts.

and of course then there’s the ultimate mama, my mom, my incredible mother.

my mom has been having a very active year, in terms of massive tectonic life shifts. her capacity to default to love astounds me. and through that mindset, she is able to have spirit of curiosity and openness and adventure to every aspect of her life. she has more capacity for change than anyone i know, and almost no capacity to lie. so she stays in it, life, and she stays honest about the experience, and she lives it all the way.

she is one of the great mothers of all time, wherever that record is kept. she mamas the three of us, her radically different daughters, and she mamas everyone she comes across who seems to need a little of that particular kind of love and presence.

who is more powerful than these women, who walked up to the edge between life and death and carried a miracle back with every ounce of strength in their bodies?

who is more alive than these women, using love to craft the future?

happy mother’s day.