I remember what it was like to want a baby.
I remember how it felt to walk through the grocery store watching others dispose so recklessly of everything I ached to be.
I remember mothers (or so-called mothers) snapping off ugly words to curly-haired toddlers.
I remember mothers (or so-called mothers) sighing in exasperation, ignoring bundles of angel on earth, telling them to hush.
I remember seeing from a distance the wonder of ten little curved fingers, dimpled knuckles, wrapped sweetly around a shopping cart handle.
I remember small voices saying, “Momma, Momma,” and wondering what unforgivable thing I had done to become unworthy of that name.
It has been sixteen years, but I will never forget Mother’s Day empty-armed, trying to smile politely, running to the church bathroom, weeping the long, hard, labor of grief behind a locked door.
Because of this, I define motherhood a little differently than most.
I define motherhood as the womb of creativity and breasts of recreativity made full.
Motherhood is an idea fluttering and kicking, compassion fluttering and kicking, music birthed, books nursed, social healing held upright on wobble knees until it walks, wounds of the heart and body dressed and bandaged.
Motherhood is entrance into dark rooms where fright cries out from sleep, and motherhood is chasing away the monsters.
Motherhood is the renaming of the rejected, it is the embrace of the lonely, it is a Saturday picnic packed for the hungry, it is the rocking of the forgotten in the lap of an old, sweet song.
Motherhood is the soft, feminine hand of love on the cheek of the world’s need.
For children are born and tended in a million different sorts of ways.
The earth cries out, and here you are to answer. You are maternity, and you are beautiful.