It takes more than a village to raise a child — it takes a tribe of mothers.
Biology makes you a mother — and bond makes you a mother.
Holding space within yourself — or holding space for someone else — makes you a mother.
Kindness makes us kin, and all kinds of family dinners can grow all kinds of family trees, and blood may run thicker than water — but love runs in families. Love makes a family.
And the woman who grew your body, may not be the woman who grows your soul, and the woman you were tethered to with an umbilical cord, may not be the only one who’s tied to your heart — because to grow a soul, it will take a body of women: birth mothers, and soul mothers, and spiritual mothers, and sister mothers and there is no class system of mothers, there is only passing on grace.
We don’t pass judgment on any woman — we only pass on all the grace.
I’ve known women who birthed and loved babies they didn’t raise, and women who loved and raised babies they didn’t birth. I’ve known women who feel like they’ve deeply failed the babies they love, and I’ve known babies who feel like their mamas deeply failed everyone they love.
We don’t rank women — we only thank women. For doing what they could, when they could, how they could, in the way they could.
Where we have questions — why? —— may we become more of the answer: Love.
Where we wish something was different — may we be someone who is different.
Where we are living into question marks, may our hearts be marked by grace.
Because it takes warrior-courage to hold a child in arms. It takes a wholehearted fool to hold a child and know that you who have fallen before, will now fall with a child.
You can feel it all at the same time: how you fall in love with a child — and are terrified of falling with a child.
You will fall — and fall again — and you will hurt a heart you love more than your own heart. When you trip, it’s always another heart that cracks. Nothing will shatter you more.
Being willing to suffer, this makes you a mother.
Being willing to suffer the pain of never-ending labor and delivery, suffer the pain of discipline and the pain of disappointment, suffer the pain of not being all that you wished you were, suffer the pain of the limitation of your love, suffer because of someone, suffer for someone, suffer with someone.
Pain and joy are the two arteries of every single heart that’s fully alive.
I’m mama to one baby who has had several mamas in this world before you ever held her, and I’m mama to a half dozen babies whom you wish had one of the far better mamas in this world.
If we have been touched by amazing grace, it is only because we have been lifted and carried by a grace pack.
I’ve watched my mama rock her crushed baby killed before our eyes. And I’ve watched my mama walk into psych wards, watched the door locked behind her — between us — and I’ve watched my mama drop a handful of dirt on her own mama’s casket laying in a hole at our feet.
When we belong to a tribe of Mothers, we’re hunters of the good and we’re gatherers of the vulnerable and we’re fighters for the belonging of all and our native tongue only speaks words that make souls stronger.
And, honestly, I’ve slipped away on Mother’s Days because I couldn’t bare to sit in the space and face all the ways I’ve failed as a mother, and I don’t know how many days I’ve held my own mama long because how can ever you say it too many times to all the warrior-brave women who have come behind?
“Thank you for writing a risky story with your life — so the story of my life could be.”
Risks don’t have to turn out perfectly — to be the worth the risk of taking anyways.
My mama’s held me in the beginning and I’ve held my mama in her bravery and my kids have held me in my brokenness and it’s the work of every mother to try to give her child the best she can — and the work of every child to forgive her mother however she can.
When we, or our people, or our stories, are less than we hoped — is when we don’t lose hope.
Life doesn’t have to be the good we expected it to be — for us to accept the good that is.
Less expecting — More accepting.
We could expect more — but maybe there’s more joy in accepting more.
And a tribe of women gather together and share the cruciform strength of reaching their arms out to to each other, to raise up each other, and small humans, and their voices in the grateful acceptance of all that is and all the grace that guaranteed still to come.
Pick up my raw story of The Broken Way and how to love when it’s hard. This one’s for all of us who have felt our hearts break a bit…
This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.