I wrote this back in 2016 and it’s just as relevant today. Of course, little boy was being dropped off to Forest School back then, and now he is a teenager taking himself places. But the rest is all there…
It’s only fitting that the robin came flying by the side of the car as I am driving slowly on the dirt road after I dropped little boy off for Forest School somewhere in the grasslands for a day of exploring.
It is March 8th, and that’s Mother’s Day back where I was born.
No bells and whistles, no marketing campaigns to make you buy this and that for mom. Flowers, yes, the grownup men bought flowers for their wives, and kids like me picked snowdrops, tied them with a nice little ribbon and presented them to Mom. No Hallmark cards, but carefully hand drawn cards featuring snowdrops as well. They were easy to draw and the earliest of all flowers. I always thought that was quite a feat for how fragile they looked.
Back to the robin though.
It now stopped on a branch and that means I stop the car. I have to. The connection between the robin and my Mom was made shortly after her sudden passing almost ten years ago and it will never change.
I sit by the side of the road close to the tree. The robin’s song is sunshine and joy. A tinge of sadness. I miss my Mom, I miss chatting with her. Mother’s Day.
Some years ago someone abruptly asked why I am attached to a relic of the communist regime. Ah, nothing like political biases attempting to hijack a day that back then meant love and goodness and warmth. Hope.
Where I sit by the side of the road there’s bold new blades of grass, so green they look surreal, each carrying gifts of morning dew. That’s what the day is about to me. Life.
Earlier in the car, little boy made my heart dance and my eyes tear up. ‘Mom, you know mushrooms look fragile but they are not. They can break through concrete. Plants too…’ It is so, isn’t it?
You’re only as fragile as you believe yourself to be. If you believe you can break through barriers, you will. My Mom always reminded me of that.
And it’s not about whether you are fragile or not. We all are in some ways. And it’s not about trading it for what what’s perceived as strength. True strength is tender-hearted and multi-faceted. You grow up and see yourself become more, better, more so when you celebrate the courage to keep on going even when you feel anything but strong.
That’s how you learn about worthiness. You learn to appreciate those moments of solitude when you look in the mirror asking, ‘where to from here?’ only to realize that by asking this simple question you have stood your ground. You did not hide the fragile bits, but showed up as you are. Poking through concrete… Yes, it takes courage to look inward. And it takes courage to follow the road that comes without directions, except for one: Trust yourself.
That’s why I celebrate motherhood today.
Today is when I think of the journey so far. The sea of memories lapping at the feet of my motherhood hut. It’s where inadequacy and joy mingle – the wealth I have amassed during a time that happened too fast.
Today I sit here by the side of the road and allow no hurry. I think of the boys, their boisterous presence, but mostly, I think of them revealing the softer sides so often when they whisper their own inadequacies, their discoveries of things that tug at their hearts. Together we learn to see that we all have them. Sometimes, stepping on each other’s toes reveals that no dance is perfect. Imperfection is beauty.
Motherhood. I said yes to it when my boys were born, and then wobbled as I tried to redefine myself after my Mom’s passing. It’s hard, because you feel lost. You wake up on any given morning thinking you have less because of that immense loss, but realize that you have kept on growing through it all.
That’s why celebrating the day quietly by the side of the road makes all the sense.
Today is not about politics but about finding the space to be quiet. To be reminded. Today is about saying ‘Thank you’ to my Mom, remembering that vulnerability and strength look alike most of the time.
Today is about acknowledging why I carry on with the journey, showing up as I am, ready for joy, humbleness and more adventures alongside my boys.
Today is when I get reminded that hitting that rock bottom every now and then is but renewed determination to push myself up again, to take another deep breath and say ‘Again!’ as if I am having the ride of my life. Because I am, and every moment of it is worthy it.
My Mom knew that, and today is a good day to remember that.
Note: I am painfully aware that March 8th is Women’s and Mother’s Day too in war-torn Ukraine. Despite all the death and devastation surrounding so many of their cities and towns, people there show up at the florist shops still standing. Strength and courage redefined.