If I had a dollar for every time my mother told me “just wait until you have a child and you will understand,” I would be rich. I try to refrain from saying those words to my children because I know they won’t get it, but if I had a dollar for every time those words ran through my head, and sometimes out of my mouth, I’d be…..let’s just say I believe these words to be true.
I have learned many things about being a mother, but I have also learned more about how I look at my own mother. Being a mother is a bag of cliché terms…difficult, rewarding, the hardest job on the planet, etc. What I see is that moms all have different strengths as people, and yet we are asked to raise these little humans the same. Then, as a society we write books, get on web forums, huddle at parks and debate who is doing this work the best. And at the end of the day after all of the work is done, your opinion of how you did and your child’s opinion, may differ. Mother’s Day is wonderful in that your kids take a minute to throw you some extra gratitude, but the additional gift of becoming a mom is reflecting about your own mother differently now that your paths have merged into common highways.
Here are some things I now know about myself and about my mother……
- I know now that she is stronger than I ever gave her credit for….quiet does not equate to weakness.
- I know that consistency and follow through are harder to accomplish than she made it look.
- I know that as mean as a mother may seem, discipline is an act of love.
- I know what icy, gripping fear feels like when you worry about your children. I know that releasing that fear to a power greater than yourself is the most important step you can make for the protection of your own sanity.
- I know that the dreams I have for my children are limitless, but what I hope for the most is the appreciation for the simple things….and that somehow I helped in small everyday ways to ensure that they understand what these things are. I suspect my mother felt the same way.
- I know that there are no words that can describe the love I have for my children, but at the same time, it’s important to remember that I cannot live for them or through them…so I have to spread that love around and find balance.
- I know that they will suck all of my energy dry, as much now as they did as babies, if I let them….I must not let them.
I know I get accused of swimming in the deep side of the pool, but I can’t help that my vision of life includes the sweetness of the everyday and the big picture of our relationships. I savor the struggle that we all go through, knowing that the lessons that we learn is the fruit that we pass on. This is the concept that sums up motherhood to me. Who we are, in part, is a gift from love and sacrifice of parents….and so then we pass it on to our children (cue Elton John music for Circle of Life, please) hoping that we all just get it right. Tis a beautiful thing. Happy Mother’s Day weekend to my beautiful mother, stepmother, mother-in-law and sisters in motherhood, as well….to a job well done!