I remember one distinct moment when I knew I was no longer just a girl, I was a mama.
We were camping in Door County, Wisconsin. Sabrina had invited a friend to stay with us for the week. Uninvited, but equally present, was a horrible stomach virus.
First, her friend puked all over the back part of the camper, including all over the cute, little blue shag rug I put between the girl's beds. I pulled it out and suds it out in a hot bucket of soapy water.
I called her girlfriend's mom, and (after many rounds of sickness) I fed her saltines and 7-up. This particular bug was hard-hitting and relentless and highly contagious.
But I remember first staring long and hard at that smelly, revolting mess and thinking, "Now. I am truly a mother. Only a mom would do this."
There was no one else to clean it up. I was it. I was the one who called upon to fix the problem. I was the mama.
So I cleaned it up.
And then, Sabrina got sick. And then, my husband followed suit.
Each time I would take a deep breath and talk to myself. "This is it," I would say. "You can do this. You love these people."
Myself would answer back with angry hissing sounds. "I absolutely, positively cannot do this. There is no possible way."
The commentary would wage back and forth between myself and myself. And myself won.
I washed that stupid blue rug until the fourth time it got soiled . . . I threw it out.
I washed and cleaned because I loved them all: my daughter, my husband, and my daughter's friend.
They say you marry in sickness and health, but you mother the same way. You mother when you don't feel like it anymore, when you are sad, when you are tired, when you are angry, when you are pukey.
You mother because a deep part of you loves this person - and you have absolutely no choice. You mother because you love.
So thank you, to my mom. To my grandma. To my mother-in-law. To all the moms who do the impossible every day because they have no choice and because they choose to mother.
You are loved and needed and appreciated.
When we were children, we had no understanding of what it means to parent. You thought that your mom and dad were invincible, that they could do anything and cure anything. You no understanding of the days they almost turned away, when they didn't think they had an ounce of can-do-spirit left in them. But, moms (and dads), you did it anyway.
For that, I am forever thankful.
Blessings on you today.