The Gift of Mother Nature
Mother Nature (noun): Mother Nature (sometimes known as MotherEarth or the Earth-Mother) is a common personification of nature that focuses on the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature by embodying it, in the form of the mother.
Shortly before I became pregnant, I was sipping a cappuccino at Gimme! when a couple burst through the door feathered in scarves, hats and snowflakes. They plopped down next to me, shedding snow, and said, “We’ve been asking everyone today, ‘who is the most influential person in your life?'”
Without hesitation, I said “my mother."
They exclaimed, “See! Almost everyone says ‘my mother!'”
This was perspective-shifting for me. Despite being head-over-heels in love with my nephew, I had started to think that perhaps my energy would best be directed at the whole wide world instead of one little being. Like Mother Teresa, or the Dalai Lama. You know, truly altruistic, the mother of all. Well ok, my aspirations weren’t that lofty, but the notion of where to dedicate my energy was a serious consideration because children take up time, money and more! But the energy parents invest in their progeny – our future – is more focused, more genuine, more intentional and more fulfilling in spirit than nearly anything else in which we invest our energy. It is unrivaled, and influences us most because it's pure love. And that’s what the world needs.
It wasn't until I became a mother myself that I could fully understand my own mother's love for her children. There is nothing that can prepare you for the miracle of birth and the overwhelming love you feel - in all its early forms (fear, confusion, adoration, uncertainty, bliss). But I sure as hell spent my entire life trying to show my mother how much I loved her back with crayon cards and handmade gifts.
As I grew older, I began to understand that gifts, though well-intentioned, never sufficed. It was always the time we spent together that was the most rewarding gift - trips abroad, lunch dates, a weekend getaway. Now, as a mother, I wonder if this is because it was an opportunity for my mamma to continue getting to know the child she birthed: to see a new expression (like the first smile!) or learn something new about my career goals. After all, what could be more important than deepening our connection?
I've also come to appreciate just how much work my mother put into raising her children. The Huffington Post recently published This Is Why Parents Are More Exhausted Than You Think They Should Be. The article gives a thorough explanation of just how hard it is to be a parent, and "career" isn't even mentioned on the list.
They never sleep through the night. Never. Ever. Again.
There is no downtime
There are no days off (even if you're sick)
Their brains are on overload
Sometimes they have to stay up until 2 a.m. binge-watching Netflix with their spouse. (Because that's the only "romantic" time together)
Stuff gets physical (Babies are not light!)
All the mother-loving cleaning!
Worries wear out their bodies
Of course, the joys of being a mother overpower the challenges, but living and breathing this list for the past four months has helped me realize another great gift for my mom: relaxation. Maybe she doesn't actually want to spend more time with me! Maybe, just maybe, she wants some quiet, peaceful time to herself or with her husband.
Every year, Mother's Day rolls around and we face the same conundrum: what gift could possibly show our moms how much we appreciate them? Well, I'd like to think the gift of glamping might be it!
And mamma, if you're reading this - I love you! - I'll see you around the campfire again this summer :).
Happy Mother's Day!