This guest post is by Chanler Jeffers, who blogs with the belief we all can make a difference in the world around us. She dishes up inspiration and food for thought at TeamJeffers.com. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!
Look at you.
You made it. Twenty-one years have passed, and somehow you made it.
Your tiny baby is now a beautiful young woman, despite everything that came in between. Who knew, starting out, how extraordinarily difficult this journey would be? Certainly not you, because life spun you a different story than what you’d written for yourself, didn’t it?
Remember at the beginning—the discomfort as your tiny baby grew inside of you? How her feet and arms and head pushed bits and pieces of you aside that you never even knew existed? Remember how it felt she was not only crowding your body, but your very soul, as she slowly came to exist? Remember how you had to shift at night, to try and get some rest? And remember all those silly worries you had? That your baby would be ugly? Physically ugly? Remember that one? Remember how terrible it made you feel to admit that, because you knew how shallow it made you seem? You were still worried, though—weren’t you?
And remember those first labor pains? They made perfect sense somehow, but they were still so foreign. And the birth. Merciful God… how do we endure that as women? That quiet nod, and tight smile—you can always tell when a woman has given birth as she faces a newly pregnant woman, can’t she? As if to say, “Just wait, hon. You have no idea, but you’ll be okay. We all have to do it.”
Then came the difficulties no one tells you about. The having to discipline, even when you’re exhausted and unsure. The constant demands, the constant wondering if you’re doing the right thing, the constant worry that your child will end up a failure because of something you have or haven’t known how to do.
But guess what? You made it, Beautiful. She’s launched.
And even though her life wasn’t perfect, and absolutely nothing at all turned out the way you wanted, or hoped or expected on that long-ago day you brought her home from the hospital, you did it.
Despite the odds.
Despite the fears.
Despite the problems.
Despite the doubts.
Somehow, your unexpected single parenthood turned out okay. Despite it all, and despite the criticism of others, you did it.
And I am proud of you. I’m not sure anyone has ever told you that, and you need to hear it.
Because you faced down every odd. You fought every battle. You made every choice.
Even if they weren’t the right choices, you never stopped trying, and you never stopped putting your child first, even when it was hard, or unpopular or extremely lonely.
You raised a beautiful young woman.
She is smart, independent and powerful. She is a not only a reflection of you, but also a reflection of the tough choices and untold sacrifices you made on her behalf. She’s not yet at the age where she realizes the depth of your investments, but one day, when her own tiny child crowds the invisible depths of her belly, she will know.
Until then, like every other woman who has launched a child into this terrifying yet beautiful world, rest in the silence of your twin heartbeats, and allow time to pass invisibly on.
Blessings, Beautiful. And Happy Mother’s Day. You made it.
Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love via Twitter at @teamjeffers. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.