I’m homesick today. And I don’t know how to write about it with some emotive voice that makes this blog post sound cohesive and retrospective. The fact is, it’s Mother’s Day, and I have been mothered by a lot of amazing women in my life. Women who have treated me like their own. Laughed with me. Cried with me. Given me advice. Sternly suggested I take a different path. Reassured me when I thought I had no options. Throughout life, I’ve been taken under the wing on countless occasions by my grandmothers, my friends’ mothers, my teachers, aunts, and host mothers from two different countries. They have all, in some part, helped to raise me into the woman I am today. The part that has me so baffled as I sit here typing, is that upon reflection, I realize that each cared for me intrinsically. What sort of social capital could I, as a 4-year old, have provided in return for Mrs. Armstrong’s lessons of love for your brother when some kid in class was mean to me? What other than the purest of intentions urged my Eej from Orkhon to lovingly wash my hair for me? And my second mothers: those of my friends’ whom I have visited even when their kids aren’t home. We weren’t of any blood relation. What made them so invested in me? I just don’t know what I could ever do for these women, all of my mothers, that would repay anything they have done for me. And I realize that love doesn’t work in that reciprocal gift-giving sort of way. So I am just going to try and say thank you. To every woman who has mothered me, in however insignificant a moment it may have seemed. I am overwhelmed by your selflessness.
And to my own mother: I can only hope to be half the woman you are. Everyone who knows you can attest to your strength and heart. I don’t know how you can love so intensely, but I hope to learn. Thank you for raising me with courage, and for letting me stretch your heart across an ocean. When I was younger, I thought things changed between a kid and her mom once she became an adult. I’m glad I was wrong. I guess that’s why that dumb children’s book makes me so emotional these days. It’s true: “I’ll like you forever, I’ll love you for always. As long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be.”