Mi Amiga, My Mamá

The past two weeks have been especially difficult for me as a parent — I have had to do a house move completely on my own due to my husband being away on business while continuing to work (which meant many late nights and early morning starts) and look after a four-year-old and a three-month-old.

Exhausted is putting it mildly. I literally fell on the bed with fatigue the first night in our new place and just cried. My mother, who had been helping, just held me. She said nothing, but held and rocked me in her arms like I was a young child again. I wiped away tears and kissed her on the cheek and said, “Gracias mamá, te quiero.”

Leaning Into Motherhood

In that very second, I suddenly became overwhelmed with sadness for my mom. I suddenly realized that my mother has nearly lived her entire adult life far away from her mamá. She struggled in a new country with two children, didn’t have anyone to help her like she was doing with me, and didn’t have her mom to hold her and tell her it was going to be okay.

I said to her, “I don’t know how you did it living away from Oma (my grandmother).” And she looked at me and said, “I struggled for many years, but I’ve learned to accept it and love my mother from afar — but I always had you.”

In that moment, more than ever before, I realized just how privileged and lucky I am to have my mother as a positive entity in my life.

Querida mamá,

Thank you for creating a happy and loving home. Gracias for all your besos, hugs and laughter (mostly because of really bad jokes!) Thank you for being gentle, never lashing out and shielding us from the hardships. I thank you for showing me how to be a strong and loving woman and now mother.

I thank you for teaching me to pray and giving me the foundation for a spiritual life. I especially thank you for teaching me to look and feel my best no matter my size and for being a prime example of positive self image.

Thank you for being my mejor amiga, for listening without judging, and for always, no matter what the circumstance standing by my side. I thank you for continuing to teach and guide me and for loving my children as much as you love me. It is only now, as a mamá myself, that I truly appreciate what you have done for me and I am thankful now and forever.

You were meant for me and I was meant for you.

¡Te quiero!

We’re celebrating Mother’s Day by celebrating leaning in to motherhood, and by recognizing the extraordinary women that are our own mothers. We hope that it will inspire you to thank your own mother, or the mother who most inspires you. Find more letters and stories about leaning into motherhood here. And, of course, find your own Lean In inspiration at LeanIn.org.

Read more from Maria José at Very Busy Mamá — Life, Beauty & Style. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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