It just so happens this year that we get to celebrate Matthew’s birthday and Mothers Day on the same weekend. In honesty, birthdays bring up a certain nostalgia and sadness that I have to acknowledge, but the cool thing is, as quickly as I have learned to recognize that feeling and admit it’s there, it disappears and I’m left with gratitude for everything there is to celebrate. This past year has reinforced the fact that there isn’t one way to be happy, or that we need to buy into the expectation of what life or a certain day was meant to look like. If the last year has taught me anything, it’s that having health and the ability to move freely around our world and make decisions for ourselves is a gift in itself, and the way to honor that is to live honestly in the moment, even if it has some times of discomfort or looks different than we thought it would.
The truth is, life is never about the expectation of one day and how it is supposed to look. It’s the culmination of a million moments and how we choose to show up in them, and the relationships and experiences we create because of the way we most often express ourselves. It’s learning how to work through fear, trauma, and insecurity to uncover a stronger, more resilient version of ourselves. It’s looking for the reason to be grateful in every situation. We aren’t going to get every moment right, there are going to be times of lost patience, faltered perseverance, and doubt…but if we don’t give up and have the courage to be honest with ourselves and admit and learn from our mistakes, what once we thought was a misstep turns into the journey down our greatest path.
When I think back, I am reminded of all that I haven’t known over the years… like what to do when Matthew wasn’t talking or moving like the other kids did at that age, or who to call or tell that I was scared in those moments. Usually it came out in those predawn runs with my girlfriends in our old neighborhood. He will be fine they would reassure me…and I would take the next step, call the doctor or next therapeutic intervention to make sure that they were right. The irony of life is that the wiser we become, the more we realize we don’t know. Once we realize this, not knowing doesn’t have to be a source of insecurity, but rather a confidence booster because we know we have the ability to adapt to whatever is ahead of us.
Last night, I sat in a quiet house, exhausted from too many nights of less than ideal sleep because of all the not knowing and newness that is stirring in my brain. Thank God that hot yoga has come back in full force…I can feel the calm grounded feeling starting to set in after just a few days in a row. New projects, new beginnings, and another year where no matter what has happened, nothing has taken away the greatest experience my life has ever known…being a mom to this amazing 14 year old boy and the incredible siblings that came before him that have modeled love, compassion, and resilience in a way I never could have imagined. Real living is going to toss us around and ask us if we know which way is up…stay with it, don’t fight it, surrender to what is instead of what you thought it had to be, because when we do, that’s when the beauty appears.
Happy Birthday Matthew, thanks for giving me a Mother’s Day to celebrate. I couldn’t be more proud of the independent, expressive, animal loving young man that you have become. Keep doing what you do… showing up, caring and teaching us that the effort and honesty we put into life will create the path we get to walk.