Carmen Dahlberg (Detroit, MI)

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One of my favorite parts of motherhood is doing it in the context of intergenerational community. At a wedding several weeks ago, I expressed my anxiety over my daughter's percentile to another guest. Now a grandmother, she responded, "When I was raising my children, we didn't worry about things like percentiles. Some people had big babies, and some people had teeny babies." They all turned out fine.

Her simple statement was more refreshing to me than she likely realized. Raising a child in the information age, the era of instant access to a deluge of opinions, can be nothing short of overwhelming. It's helpful to hear about motherhood in ages past, when child rearing came down to common sense and community. Women like this wedding guest remind me that, as huge and all-encompassing as this stage feels in my life, mothers have been raising children since the time of Eve herself. My role is important, but I'm not pioneering anything new.

And as I settle into this new stage of life, I'm increasingly thankful for the women in my life who are in different seasons. Second-time mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters: ultimately, we're all just passing through on our way to the kingdom. The ladies in my life help me to be not only the best mother but the best wife and the best woman I can be. I am more than my motherhood, and my relationships with women, veterans and celibate alike, call out and affirm parts of me that can sometimes remain buried under that identity. Through their friendship and sisterhood, they are making this season of family life richer.