One of my earliest memories with my mother is of her carrying me all over Washington, D.C. when I was only three years old. My parents had decided for our family vacation that steamy summer that we would travel to our nation’s capitol and see all the historical sites, visit the White House (before there was so much high-level security), pay homage to the fallen at each of our war monuments and reverently watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery.
What else did this include? LOTS of walking. And what did my parents forget? My stroller. And these were the days before a Walgreens or CVS could be found on every corner and finding a place to purchase a short-term replacement wasn’t so easy. Since my three year old legs and feet weren’t up for the challenge, not yet strong enough to hold up to the miles of steps, my parents took turns carrying me… adding weight to each of their own.
It was a tough trip. Hot and exhausting. We were melting in the concrete jungle of historical significance… but my mother, just a little younger than I am now and despite her own discomfort, carried me for miles because I could not yet carry myself. She had done the same just three years earlier as she carried me for nine months, through a heart murmur and a broken leg, before I was ready to even breathe on my own.
These days, she sacrifices a little less from a physical standpoint on my behalf, but my heartache is her heartache, my stress is her stress, my success is her success, my joy is her joy. She lays her heart out there for me so that I may have a foundation for my own, she loves and supports with very few questions, she gives everything in her soul in order to give me strength. When I can’t hold up to the steps, when I can’t breathe on my own… she absorbs the weight and she carries me still…
Our Washington trip was nearly 33 years ago but I remember moments, flashes, from that trip as if they happened yesterday or last week. Being in my mother’s arms, laying my head on her shoulder with feet dangling, hugging her neck… it is a memory that has stayed with me and that still feels so close. I can’t help but think that it feels so recent, so familiar, only because she has carried me every day since.
To my mother this Mother’s Day, I love you and am so lucky to be your daughter. You are truly my best friend but the sweetest blessing is that I get to call you “Mom.”
“A child is someone you carry inside you for 9 months, in your arms for 3 years and in your heart for all eternity.”