I am a mother lover.
I love the quick mother in the checkout line swiping candy away from her kids as fast as they can pick it off the shelf. I love the new mother nervously nursing her baby in public for the first time. I love the experienced mother next to me on the plane who gushes about her kids and grandkids.
I really do love mothers. All of them! I am a mother lover. But I have a secret…
I love my mother the most.
I love my mother the most because she gave me books by Maya Angelou and Beryl Markham and Shakespeare and Roald Dahl. I love my mother the most because she took me to far away places and to horseback riding lessons and to at least one ballet class before I quit because the girl in front of me peed on the floor and blamed me. I love my mother the most because she believed it wasn’t me who peed on the floor.
I love my mother the most because she never brings up the fact that I was often mean to her in junior high and cooly unresponsive to her in high school. Because she laughed while I rolled and smoked the bushes from our front porch knowing it would make me sick. I love my mother most because she talked with me about sex and God and then asked my opinion on these things without judgement or advice. I love my mother the most because she loves my father and does anything in her power to encourage his dreams. And because she designs the life that she wants to experience and then follows through. And because she is brave enough to love and grieve for her son with a fervor and a perfect, honest heartbreak that very few of us will ever have to know.
I am a mother lover and I love my mother the most.
I love my mother the most because she never had to teach me how to be confident. She never told me how to be kind. She never sat down with me to explain how to have fun. Not once did she write out the rules for enjoying food or friends and I can’t recall ever having to memorize a set of stipulations for how to adore people and places with abandon. She simply is all of this. And this is how she loved me.
They say you can never love your mother as much as she loves you. They are probably right. But what they didn’t tell me is that her immense love for me will make me want to try. Her beautiful example of love catapulted me into attempting to love others just as much. And then when I had my own daughters I understood precisely how one can fling oneself into the cosmic, scary unknown space of motherhood. It is because the flawless, endless love that I feel for my own tiny ones is the same flawless, endless love that my mother feels for me.
Indeed, I am a mother lover. Mother. Lover. And yet in these two words, all I see is redundancy.