A mother is the first person who showed us love. How? By caring for us nine months before we were brought into the world. Whatever the status of our relationship with our mother is right now, she cared for us before we were even aware of it. However, the beautiful thing about a mother is the power of her presence. Some of us may not have mothers in the traditional sense, but everyone has a mother in some form, whether it was the friend who took us in, a brother or sister who looked after us, an elder who cared for us as their very own, or anyone who demonstrated a love most associated with behind-the-scenes work that exemplifies selflessness, diligence, sacrifice, and a compassion that is unbreakable, unshakable and unmistakable.

We’ve tasted a mother’s love in the meals that we’ve been provided. We’ve felt a mother’s love in the arms that wrapped around us when we were hurting, ashamed, alone. We’ve heard a mother’s love in the songs sung over us to lull us to sleep, to soften our hearts, to bring tenderness into our lives. We’ve seen a mother’s love in the eyes that truly see us even when we try to hide. We’ve smelled a mother’s love in the aroma of a soft, yet strong presence.

Mothers and mother figures aren’t celebrated and recognized as much as they should be. But we have the opportunity to let them know how much their life means to us.

Everyone communicates and receives love differently, so running errands and making brunch might be the clearest way to celebrate the mother whose love language is acts of service. For words of affirmation, a handwritten letter is always a place to reflect on her life in ours. It gives us a pause in our day to laugh, cry, and relive the sweet moments of having a life graced with the grace of our mothers. It carries weight because it carries our thoughts of her, and that is priceless. For the mother who loves with touch, an initiated hug and a held hand, for those don’t require words. For the mother who loves gifts, choose her favorite flowers to brighten her day, or print a photo book of fond memories.

The truth is, no gift or word is large enough to match her magnanimity. But, that’s okay. Recognizing that will invite us into living a life that both willingly receives her wise care and loving compassion, as well as serve her with our appreciation and respect. To walk in her ways, to grow into her arms, to care for her thoughts, her words, her life is what we can continue to strive toward beyond Mother’s Day.