Becoming a mother made me love mine even more

I realize now, firsthand, more facets of my mother's love for me. I viscerally understand the sleepless nights, the aches and pains, worries and unrelenting devotion even in the face of great challenge.

Becoming a mother made me love mine even more

My grandfather, a father of six, had a unique tradition. Every year on his birthday, he drove to his mother's house and brought her flowers. My mother, his middle daughter, was so impressed by this ritual that years later, after she herself had become a mother, she began adopting this practice. To this day, on her December birthday, she bundles up in the New York cold and brings warm-toned flowers to her now 98-year-old mother.

When I was a teen, I recall asking my mom, “Where are you going? It's your day and we want to celebrate you."

“I won't be gone long," she'd say, “but my birthday is because of the hard work of my mother, so it's her day just as much as it is mine. I need to mark that."


In this time where we are all too often conditioned to think our birthdays are all about us, it can be easy to forget that on the day we were born, a woman, her face radiant with effort and care, labored and cried and lost sleep and gave of her whole body and heart so that we might live and flourish. For those among us who were adopted, one woman birthed us with great courage and another, whose eyes shone with loving acceptance, gave us a home in her arms.

Since childhood, I have been impressed by my mother's generous heart and formidable wisdom. But my own motherhood has been a game-changer in my appreciation for my mom. When I was in labor, my husband stood on one side of me, supporting, and my mother stood on the other side, guiding.

Since she vividly recalls what it felt like to give birth, she was able to coach me like a pro. She cried with us when our beautiful baby was placed in my arms. Of all the major life and death moments we have shared (and there have been quite a few!) this was one of the most profound.

She had birthed me, and now helped me to give birth.

After we came home from the hospital with my first child, my mother stayed with us for a week to help. I recall crying the morning she drove away, wondering if I could make it as a parent in even the most basic ways, let alone become as naturally selfless as her. Over the months that followed, I learned hands-on all the shapes that love takes, and all the ways I needed to grow.

My love for my own mother began to deepen in a way I had not thought possible.

How could I love her more? I used to think. But somehow, I did love her more.

Now I knew firsthand the intricate pain of parenthood, the beauty of loving a completely dependent being with all one's strength. Never before had the famous words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta made more sense: “I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, only more love."

I realize now, firsthand, more facets of my mother's love for me. I viscerally understand the sleepless nights, the aches and pains, worries and unrelenting devotion even in the face of great challenge.

We love our children so much that it hurts. But it sure is a beautiful hurt.

So that is why, every year on my birthday, my children will see their mother bring their grandmother a bouquet of flowers. It is a humble symbol of the garden she has given. It's a reminder that I am who I am because of her.

As I love she who came before me, and made me possible, those who come after me are loved more, too. They are given the gift of seeing their extraordinary grandmother honored in whatever humble ways we can devise. It is a reminder of the profound respect due the greatest gift we have been given... and due the women who gave it to us.

To all the loving moms out there: thank you for the gardens you have planted. May we honor your sacrifices in all the ways we grow. And may we always find many ways to, literally and symbolically, bring you flowers.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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