Editor's note: This post by Rachel Macy Stafford originally appeared on her blog, Hands Free Mama. It has been reprinted here with permission.
For the woman who savors backwards letters in childlike scrawl and secretly hopes "liberry" and "funder storm" will never be pronounced correctly ...
For the woman who crawls on achy knees into her child's tiny bunk bed to read stories and inhale his just-bathed scent ...
For the woman who would prefer a dandelion bouquet carried in a dirt-filled fist over a dozen red roses in a crystal vase ...
For the woman who cries at the sight of her child and cannot explain why ...
For the woman who feels her awkward bulges and morning breath slowly dissipate when a cherub voice says, "You're so pretty, Mama" ...
For the woman who is never at a loss for words when it comes to defending her child ...
For the woman whose babies will never, ever become too heavy to carry ...
If this sounds like you, keep reading.
This is not just for Mother's Day; it is for every day. It is for those who are in pain. It is for those who are healed. It is for those who carry burden. It is for those who have offered a reprieve. It is for the sisters you love and the sisters you have never met. It is for your wife. It is for your girlfriend. It is for your daughter. It is for your dearest love. It is for anyone who has loved a child or cared for someone like a child. It is for anyone who is loved by a child.
This is for you.
For once, may those laugh lines look beautiful in the sun.
For once, may you allow yourself to come completely undone.
For once, may you note that your hair has its perks.
For once, may you feel like you've done enough work.
For once, may you be bored with not a darn thing to do.
For once, may you worry about no one but you.
For once, may you feel like your best is good enough.
For once, may you know you don't have to be so tough.
For once, may you feel like there is only one place you need to be.
For once, may your reflection hold the woman you've always wanted to see.
For once, may you feel like you don't need to defend,
Your choices, your schedule, the emotions felt from within.
For once, may you decide that you are a good mother,
Breaking free from the guilt and shame that damage and smother.
For once may you love yourself as much as they do,
You know, the adoring eyes of your children staring back at you.
Because it's not the things you do, and it's not the thing you say.
It's not about bending over backwards and going out of your way.
It's not about striving for fake perfection from head to toe.
It's not about making homemade bouquets and moist cookie dough.
It's about your love, bigger than a harvest moon.
It's about your love, always showing up and never leaving too soon.
For once, may you feel the unconditional love you so freely give.
For once, may you grasp the beautiful life you're meant to live.
And if you haven't yet grasped it,
Until it finally sinks in.