While I wasn't chronologically the oldest mother there, I was the most senior member of our hodgepodge, not-so-secret-yet-oft-misunderstood organization. It is a club with unintentional membership and compulsory participation. After we are inducted by one of our children, our membership lasts a lifetime with daily rituals of our making. Once in a while, members gather in pairs for things like sharing coffee or a shopping trip. Sometimes, like the day of this Hand-in-Hand Mother's Retreat, we group to grapple with issues that are best understood by other moms like us. We don't have to use a lot of words to exchange information. Glances, smiles, and sighs often suffice. Tears tell more than stories, but we like to hear stories - even small pieces of what life as a "special" mom is like for someone just a bit like us. The stories validate what we hope is true: We are not alone.
I know I don't want think about what makes my life circumstances "special" at the end of any given day. I just want a restful night's sleep and a chance to dream of things I might have forgotten I ever wanted in the first place. I believe this is true for moms of all shapes, faiths and sizes. I believe this desire to freely dream is also true for women who never became moms and maybe never will.
Happy Mother's Day to all women everywhere. May we always feel special simply because we are, and may each one of us love the children who come into our lives in unexpected but potentially enriching ways.