Anyone who knows me knows that Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday. No, it is not because I love chocolate or the color pink, although those are certainly added perks. Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday because at its very core, it embraces the ideal of pure, unadulterated love. Indeed, it is a jubilant celebration of that most hallowed of human emotions. This Valentine’s Day, I would like to reflect on one of the greatest love stories of all time: the relationship between a mother and her child.
The love between a mother and her child begins in the womb. From the moment of conception, the woman and the baby are intrinsically connected in the most intimate way possible. The child gradually develops inside his or her mother’s body and, because of this, the mother directly participates in the first stages of the baby’s life before anyone or anything else, even the father, can. Newborns recognize their mothers’ voices upon birth, and unborn babies learn the sound of their mothers’ voices and even language while in utero. In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you”, but a mother could use the very same words to describe her relationship with the child as well. Before the baby is fully grown in the womb, the mother already has a deep connection with the child. She has felt him kick and move, and she has seen his figure. Simply by giving birth to the child, the mother consecrates the child and establishes that his or her life is worthy of love and respect.
Through childhood and adolescence, mothers are there to teach, nurture, and support us as their children. They are the ones who show us how to wash the dishes and clean our clothes. They dry our tears when we fail a test or have our hearts broken. They drive us to soccer practice and student council, and they bake cupcakes for that fundraiser we signed up to help with but forgot about. No matter the scenario, our moms are there for us. One might wonder why they do so much, but truly, as Jessica Lange so eloquently states, “The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children”. Mothers who have chosen life are the most selfless of beings, because they have given up their life, their whims, and their desires to nurture those of their children, and that is the true love that we should all desire in our lives. Additionally, our relationship with our mother is our first experience of love in our lives. Without our moms, our ideas of love would come from romantic comedies and fairy tales. Our mothers prepare us for what we all long for most in life: a meaningful, caring relationship with someone who loves us endlessly and completely.
On Valentine’s Day, it is often all too easy to focus on the love we don’t have. We see couples in love and we think to ourselves, “I wish that were me”. This year, however, try to focus on the love you do have- the love of a mother who chose life, your life, whether she is still with us or not. So, this Valentine’s Day, in between complaints about being perpetually single, take some time to thank your mother. Indeed, spend just a moment to call, or reflect on the memory of, the woman who has loved you endlessly since the moment you were conceived, and tell her that you love her too.