The first time I was able to experience Mother's Day as a mom, my husband and I celebrated by telling our closest loved ones that we were expecting again. We shared the news by hand-delivering cards that contained pictures of our son holding a book titled I'm a Big Brother. One of the people who received a card was my sister, Maggie, and while I knew she would be absolutely thrilled that another baby was on the way, something about her reaction especially struck me; it was the excitement she expressed upon receiving the card in the first place, before she even knew what was about to unfold. Witnessing this seemed to momentarily wake me up from my new-mom-about-to-be-a-new-mom-again haze, and realize that not only should my mom and myself be celebrated on Mother's Day, but my sister should be as well, even though she does not have children.
Maggie has always loved kids, especially babies. In fact, her connection to them seems to be present even before birth. She has predicted the gender of many babies with almost 100-percent accuracy. And her motherly instincts don't end there. She shows so much concern when a baby cries, tenderness when they sleep, and lots of silliness during play time. My sister has developmental disabilities, preventing her from being a mom in a typical sense. However, after seeing her reaction to receiving that card, I started to think more deeply about our relationship and her connection to my children.
Over the years, Maggie has taught me many things that I currently need to use as a parent on a daily basis. She has taught me the importance of patience, empathy, and flexibility. And when I start to worry about things like whether or not my kids' knowledge and abilities seem to match their peers, she keeps me grounded and focused on what truly matters. She reminds me that everyone communicates in their own way and that these differences should be honored, as we all deserve to be heard and understood. She also shows me that there is not one correct way to measure intelligence, and that everyone's strengths should be celebrated. And, most importantly, she reminds me that kindness should be placed above all else.
Furthermore, Maggie has not only played a vital part in building the foundation for me to be the best mom I can be, she also fills in the gaps where I am not able to. When I am overwhelmed with exhaustion and worry, Maggie shows my kids the sheer joy of letting go and laughing so hard they can't breathe. When I fear the worst, I am reminded of all the times my parents faced the unknown and my sister proved again and again how resilient we truly are. Also, she embodies the beauty that occurs when we embrace our differences and make diversity the norm. And when it comes to the most important responsibility a parent has, loving their children unconditionally for exactly who they are, my sister does this with ease. Therefore, Maggie can be sure that she will always be a recipient of the traditional Mother's Day card I now give out to all of the amazing mamas in my life, as I will always celebrate Maggie and her motherly wisdom on Mother's Day.
It's why I use Mother's Day to remember all of the amazing women who support me, inspire me to be the best mom I can be, and who love my kids unconditionally. I want to remind them that they are a necessary part of the community that builds my children up, and that their motherly wisdom deserves to be celebrated — regardless of whether or not they have children of their own.