For as long as I can remember I’ve been mothering. It was something I did instinctively. As a child I often sought out younger children to mentor, and encourage, pets to care for, and situations in which I could play “mother”. At the ripe old age of five the universe (and my parents) conspired to give me two siblings within a year; two adorable, beautiful, perfect little babies to love. I honed my nurturing skills upon these two little people every chance I got. By the time I was twelve, I had four more little siblings. I was adept at changing diapers, rocking fussy babies, playing make believe, and pushing a stroller; singing children’s songs, bottle and spoon feeding, bath time, and telling elaborate bedtime stories. In the five years that followed I became “big sister” twice more, making a grand total of seven brothers and sisters spread out across the vast expanse that was my respective parents’ love lives.
Throughout adolescence I often befriended people who needed reassurance and love. I was usually the caretaker. The proverbial “older sister” figure. I donned that hat and I guess it fit. Even when I had relationships with people who were older and perhaps wiser than me, I instinctively brought a sense of supportive security to the equation.
Now as a mother to my own children, I see how all of that experience compiled to prepare me for this journey. When we are young we don’t always understand why we have the experiences we do, however a little hindsight can bring things into perspective. I cut my mothering teeth on the trials and tribulations of having a hand in the upbringing of many little siblings, needy friends, and even adults who needed my care in their own wayward ways.
In true mothering style I still offer advice, unconditional love and support; honest, constructive criticism, and heartfelt compassion to those who are close to me. I am best friend and confidante to many, big sister to some, love to others, and mom to a few. But I am also more (and less) than this image I convey to the world. I am needy and insecure sometimes. I question myself, my capabilities, and my identity. I often wonder whether or not I am qualified to offer any of these things to others. It is then that I remind myself that what you give so too shall you receive. And I redouble my efforts to be the best nurturer I can be; to love unconditionally, to forgive, and to see the beauty in everyday experience. To encourage, entrust, and assure. To proffer love and support to all those I have the honor to know; myself included. I believe this is why I am here on this earth. This is my path. Though it may wind through dark and stormy emotional snares and entanglements, ultimately it is leading me to the light of fulfillment.