I’m sitting here with a wet tissue in my lap.

The tears just won’t stop coming.

I have been sitting here thinking about all of the mothers that I love.

My mother.

Both of my grandmothers who are no longer here with me.

My aunts.

My sister.

My daughters.

My granddaughter.

And I’m filled with both gratitude for the love I’ve known, the love I’ve received, and the love I’ve had the opportunity to give.

Then I think about all of the mothers that have been my friends – who have shown me what it looked like to mother children in diapers, children I homeschool, and the children that have about killed me as they’ve gone through adolescence.

I’m thinking about the women in my life that have never had a child of their own but have mothered me by being a friend, a confident, or someone who would let me cry in their presence without feeling shame or judgement.

I’m thinking about friends who helped me so that I could make it through college as a single parent, make it through seasons where my husband traveled a lot for work, and helped me through times when I was on the edge of my sanity.

I’m thinking of the women I have never met who have mothered me from a distance as I watched their life, read their books, visited their blogs,  or listened to their voices over the airwaves or through the internet.

I’m thinking about those women who have helped me by supporting me in my home and without whose help I would not be able to serve my family well during seasons of sickness, overwhelming stress, or when I have simply been tired of being tired.

I’m crying because I know that I value motherhood.

I have been a mother all of my adult life.

It’s what I know.

But motherhood the way I have known it in my life has only been possible because other women have mothered me.

I am crying because motherhood isn’t easy.

I haven’t been perfect. There are words I’ve said that I wish I could take back.  Things I didn’t do that I wish I would have. Things I didn’t know that I wish I did long before now.

I’m crying because it’s a journey.

A journey that is as much about me as it is about my kids.

A journey that is as much about the mother’s that have surrounded me as it is about the mother that biologically, legally, or effectively took direct responsibility for another human being.

My heart overflows with emotion because motherhood is about so much.

It’s about celebrating the love that we give to our children but also to each other as we seek to pour our hearts and souls into others.

Because we see that others have value.

Mothers. Children. Grandmothers. Aunts. Sisters. Cousins. Friends.

Mother’s Day is about a circle of sisters who share in the caring of others in some way at some time.

Mother’s Day is the celebration of love.

The kind of love that is selfless enough to value the life of another.

Enough to share a body.

Enough to share a soul.

Enough to share time.

Enough to share a helping hand.

Enough to share an encouraging word.

Enough to give of late nights and early mornings.

Enough to hurry.

Enough to wait.

Enough to release someone who is pulling away.

Enough to  pull someone close who is standing aloof.

Enough to slave over a hot stove.

Enough to share a bed.

Enough to go without.

Enough to work for more.

Enough to face reality and still keep faith.

Enough to hope and dream for what seems impossible.

Motherhood is beautiful.

And it’s a journey that is messy and beautiful all at the same time.

In all kinds and all shades and in some way.

The journey of motherhood affects us all.

And while no one on this earth could ever replace my mother.

When I look at what motherhood really is…

I see my mother clearly and I’m grateful.

But I also see other women who have been in my circle of sisters who have been a part of my circle of love.

Those still here on earth. Those that I miss dearly.

And therefore I celebrate this Mother’s Day…

With tears of joy, remembrance, and appreciation.

And I let the tears fall freely, dabbing here and there with the wet tissue, as I make it my effort to tell as many of those sisters today how much I value their contribution to my life and my journey.