“I will be your best friend in this season, Emily,” my mom whispered in my ear as she hugged me goodbye in her driveway. I loved Wednesdays. It was the highlight of the kids’ and my week. We always spent that day at my parents’ house.
This particular day, I found myself lingering in the driveway before my departure, and emotion filled my heart. “How can I possibly be lonely, day to day, when I’m never alone?” I asked her quietly. I felt fatigued from the constant demands of raising toddlers while pregnant. She leaned through the open window of my minivan and wrapped her sun-kissed arms around my shoulders. “I remember feeling that way when I was in your stage of life. It can be hard to maintain close relationships during the baby years. I adore you, Emily. I will be your best friend in this season.”
Neither of us could have possibly known she only had a few days left on this earth.
My best friend and mother was gone before she had a chance to keep her promise.
And the truth is, while her death has created layers of loss, I mostly miss being mothered.
Becoming a mother causes you to need a mother in a whole new way. The experience and knowledge of practiced moms are a treasure. Their words are like rain on the soil of young hearts who are raising the next generation.
Seasoned mommas, grandmothers, and women of generations before mine: don’t stop mothering the mothers. We desperately need your counsel, nurture, and friendship.
The other week, I was dressing in the YMCA locker room after a workout. I heard an older woman say to a friend, “I’m 67 and it’s wonderful. I wouldn’t want to go back!” I quickly struck up a conversation with her, hungry to have a vision of hope for my golden years of life. “Excuse me! I don’t mean to eavesdrop, but I want to learn from your experience. What is it about your age that you enjoy?” She smiled through our introductions and replied, “Wisdom. You get to my age and you’ve learned so much. Life gets easier with the knowledge you glean along the way.”
Young moms: Put a demand on the wise women in your life. You will feel less isolated if you learn from those who’ve gone before you. There are resolutions to the very parenting battles you are fighting, and they reside in the more mature mothers around you. Ask and inquire. They have gleaned wisdom they will share with you. They can lighten the load of your heart.
Mommas and grandmas: I want your wisdom. All of it. I want you to tell me what has worked for you and what hasn’t. I want to learn how you’ve succeeded and failed. What would you tell your 20 and 30 year old selves? Please. Don’t feel irrelevant. Invest your time, talent, and insight into us younger women because practiced moms, you are a treasure. I’m not foolish enough to think that 5 years of being a parent makes me an expert. I’m just doing the best I can with what I know. I need you. We still need you. Even as mothers, we need to be mothered.
In the words of Anna Jordan from The Magic of Motherhood, “It turns out, one of the most wonderful joys of motherhood is the other mothers.” How true this is. Mothering was always meant to take place in community. May we each seek to add joy to our fellow mothers. May we also purpose to lighten the burdens from one another as we raise our children.
*This blog post is dedicated to our and my parents’ wonderful friends, my beloved in-laws, and supportive faith community. You all have been part of my healing. In this current season, Lee Porter and Brigit Elliot, thank you for all you’ve done. Your persistent, extravagant, and practical demonstrations of love towards me and my family have been some of the most incarnate forms of kindness I’ve ever experienced.
*Photo by Tori Vandament