A Mother’s Day Dictionary

by Jahanara Hoque

I think we can all agree that one day, let alone one word, isn’t enough to celebrate the wonderful women that we call our mothers.

This Mother’s Day, to honor all the moms out there, I reached out to expecting mothers, new mothers, veteran moms, and children alike to ask them what exactly is it that makes their mom and being a mom so special? What do you love most about her? What is one word that you feel best sums up motherhood?

Although there will never be enough words to express the magnitude of love that surrounds moms, I think I caught a small but heartwarming glimpse.

“She essentially handles all of our lives in both our successes and failures. While I think I’m the only one that’s feeling this, or going through that, earning this, struggling with that, the truth is she (my mom) goes through all of this with me as well because she deals with the person I become through each of the stages.” -Salma

It’s funny they say your mom is always right so she’ll tell me things or try and offer me a solution to something, and of course I’m not interested. Then sure enough what she said or suggested nearly always pans out. She also seems to have a trick, tip, suggestion or hack for just about everything” -Connor

She is the best at everything she sets her mind to, from cooking to looking good to running her own business and being there for all of us!” -Ayesha

I can always vividly remember my mom stretched out on the couch in our living room on Sundays, phone in hand, scrolling through her contacts list and calling family members old and young just to check up on them. She would call Aunts, cousins, uncles of mine I hadn’t even thought of in years or months, here, across the US and even internationally. She keeps our family together in that way and keeps bonds strong. She is more in tune with the happenings of my Dad’s family than he even is!” -Fatmata

I’m married and live a few miles down the road and she sends me food all the time because she made something my husband or I like to eat. She says she can’t eat anything herself without giving us some!” -Shamole

My mother is absolutely brilliant! She has 6 degrees and reads 8 languages, and she puts her extensive knowledge to use by not only spreading her love of history but using it to educate herself on understanding me… so that she can be the best mother for me.” -Castien

Someone who is always there no matter what the situation is, my support system 24/7.” -Jessica

A few years ago, it was my gap year and I made the commitment and decided to embark on the journey of completing a hifth course (memorizing the Quran). She supported me, dropped me to my class every morning and picked me up after class, she promised me she’d do whatever it takes to pay my class fees, even if it came down to her last penny.” –Kulthum

Regardless of what life throws her way, she always has a strength that she draws from faith. I’ve always admired how no matter what happens she is always able to put it in the hands of God and have confidence it will be fine.” -Ashley

She can never stay mad at me, she will apologize when I should be the one to apologize. My mother is filled with emotions, she’s sensitive and cries easily just like me. But she’s strong and tries to hide what she goes through. -Jennifer

“She works two jobs, yet doesn’t let us siblings feel any emptiness with her around.” -Khezra

“My mom barely passed high school in Bangladesh but she came to America and ran a successful business with my Dad. She was the driving force for all three of her kids being successful in education and their careers. And, while life has never been easy fair for her, she fights through all the obstacles. Most recently, she’s fighting a harsh illness and watching her everyday is like watching my own Wonder Woman at home.”  -Zara

“There’s something about our parents’ generation that we just don’t have. They came from far away countries, learned a language they never understood, and adapted to a foreign land, all for the small hope that life would be good for them and their kids. For my mom, she came to America and gave birth to me at a younger age than I am currently. Never once did she complain about life or the situation she had; she faced every challenge head-on. There’s something about the resilience of my mother, and all mothers of that generation, that I can only hope to emulate some day.”  -Zahin

“Because to survive doesn’t mean that you’ll always stand bravely against the odds, it means that you’ll be terrified at times, and at times you’ll be battered by endless struggle, but always, always continue moving forward, even though the final destination may not arrive but taking each step forward regardless, full of every emotion that you brought with you from day one.” -Daim

“She appreciates everyone in her life, she will do whatever is possible, just to make others happy and bring a smile on other people’s faces. That is something I absolutely admire about her, it always inspires me to think positively about other people and act compassionately towards others.” -Mimma

“For me motherhood transitioned me into a place that had infinite responsibilities. A place different to anything I’ve known before, It was a job unlike any before because I had no qualifications beforehand but I had to always show up, no breaks, no pay and no expectations and be the best I can be. Thats why fulfilling for me describes it best, it enhances your heart, your limbs, your soul and most of all your faith.” -Fahima

“I am in a state of constant change, well humans always are, but when you are pregnant it is more visible, whether its your body, or your emotions, everything is constantly changing, including your connection and confidence toward having a child. Both my husband and I have evolved a lot during this process, there is a lot of growth, maturing, transforming, all those words that signify change into something else. Always forward, never back, there are a lot of things that will never be the same for me and my life. I was worried before that I won’t feel a connection with my baby, but as time has progressed I realize I have had an evolution of love, that will just continue to grow inshallah.” -Karimah

“Motherhood is Courageous. When you have a child, you become brave, instantly. You have to make decisions for another little person. You have to guide that little person through life, and put yourself in situations you wouldn’t otherwise be in. Through them, you’re learning to be a kid again, you rediscover yourself. Sometimes you lose yourself. You have to be you, and know that someone is watching your every move, listening to your every word, and counting on you to teach them about the world. You don’t automatically know how to be a mother. It’s hard, it’s awful sometimes, it’s stressful and exhausting and disappointing. But ultimately it’s so rewarding. So fulfilling. Having the courage to learn as you go and guide someone to make good decisions – it’s such a gift.” -Kaitlyn

“What is mothering in one word? Love. Love is what you understand the first time you see this brand new living creature you are now responsible for.  You would face any number of bears and wolves to protect her. Love is what makes you get up to feed a tiny mouth even when it hurts like heck, and to wake that tiny person up to keep on hurting you because she fell asleep too soon. Love is what makes you not only change diapers but examine them and then change your own diet based on the contents. (Yeah, eww.) Love is what makes you suddenly learn to appreciate trucks and dinosaurs and soccer. Love is tiny hands tightening around your neck for the first time. It’s a warm drapey body that just woke up. It’s what makes “mom” the best sound in the world (especially in the morning, before you’ve heard it 36 times in an hour). It’s what makes the jokes funnier and the accomplishments shinier. Love is what makes you cook that 3,452nd meal and then wash the dishes. It’s what makes you drive and wait and pay and wake up early and stay up late. Love is what makes you push someone for the 1,000th time to do something that would be easier to do yourself. Love is what makes you worry, and sometimes it makes you very, very angry. Love is what makes you say no, and it’s what makes that so, so hard to do. Love is what makes you let go. Even when all you want to do is run after her.” -Lina

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