What Mothers Can Be

A soft place to land in a hard world

Mother-Daughter On Vacation Together

2 min read

I was lucky to grow up not only with a mother, but also a grandma, the first generation to be born and raised in Canada, and an abuela who immigrated to Canada with her three sons and husband from Spain. I also had two great-grandmothers, nonnas, who had immigrated from Italy. These women had countless societal barriers to overcome, all while raising children and taking care of the home, supporting husbands who were working full-time, as well as working themselves. 

This is not an uncommon story for mothers, and I hear from mothers with whom I am friends today about their frantic schedules of getting kids to school in the morning, going to work, picking kids up, purchasing groceries, cooking dinner, and doing it all again the next day. 

I remember in elementary school Mom would make my lunch and often leave little hand-written love notes inside my lunch box. Today, this will take the form of text messages and emails throughout the week, as well as phone calls just to talk and catch up. 

She is one of my best and dearest friends, as well as a constant support and cheerleader. I value her wisdom and often seek her advice. She is a soft place to land in what can feel like a hard world.

We are from the lineage of strong women, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. My mother has passed on the stories of the struggles and sacrifices made by my grandma, abuela, and great-grandmothers, all done to make life better for future generations. To remember these women’s sacrifices is to remember to appreciate the life I am able to have now.

We are from the lineage of strong women, otherwise we wouldn’t be here. 

On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate and am grateful for my mom who has constantly supported me over the years, even when she didn’t understand or agree with my choices. 

And I remember my grandma and abuela and my great-nonnas who loved me and made me feel like an important part of our family’s lineage. I try to walk, now, in their path. 

I think also of my sisters-in-law, who are raising my nieces and nephews to love and accept themselves and others. 

And I think of the Persian poet Hafiz who, speaking of God wrote, “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions. For your mother and my mother were friends.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, not just the mothers. 

Buona festa della mamma, feliz día de la madre.

Join the conversation. Send your thoughts to the editor Jon Sweeney.

Cristina M. Freire (she/her) is a graduate of Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC) who also holds a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of British Columbia. She works for the Burnaby Public Library as a librarian. She shares an apartment with Lightning and Rainbow, her two cats, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.