As each Mothers Day approaches, my mind returns to my mother and our disconcerted past. I have spent a number of Mothers Day’s without my mother; she passed away nine years ago. I now realize that it is time to give up the belief that my mother did not love me. You see for many years I did not believe she did. We were so very different from one another and there was almost nothing that we viewed the same and no middle ground in which we could meet.
I was always fearful of trying to relate to her, trying to see things the way she saw them, worried that I too may be sucked into the abyss of depression and unhappiness which was the world she lived. We each had a line that we walked up to and then retreated from, refusing to cross into the world of the other. In silent defiance, I bookmarked each item in my mind that she did wrong while raising me, those things that I would never do when it was my turn to be a parent. I was going to be the perfect parent.
Becoming a mother led me to tap dance through the minefield of wanting a relationship with her for my children’s sake and as it turned out she was a wonderful grandmother. She was loving, kind, patiently playing games, reading books and blowing bubbles hours on end. She clearly loved her grandchildren very much. So how did I get skipped, what was it in me that brought out such unhappiness in her?
From a very young age I had assumed the role of parent, helping her cope with events I believed beyond her control and trying unsuccessfully to make her happy. Wanting my entire life for just one sign from her that she was happy for me, to tell me that she loved me and was proud of who I was becoming.
Was I just too close to the picture to see the answers clearly? Time and distance did not provide what I needed to understand. How do I make everything right? Would I ever be able to create a relationship with my own daughter, the one I thought all mothers and daughters should have? I wanted to know why we never went to lunch and enjoyed each other’s company. Why couldn’t I call her for advice or just talk, being silly and laughing at things moms and daughters are supposed to share. Maybe, in my haste to bookmark all those wrong events I just missed all the good ones. Maybe she thought I wouldn’t believe it if she did say it because actions speak louder than words.
Relationships are constantly evolving and parents as I now realize grow up with us. They did not become perfect parents the minute we were born; it took years of practice and hard work to become a good parent. Everyone reacts differently to events in their lives. It comes down to choice, my mom made her choices and until now I had allowed the results of her choices to occupy a part of my mind. But this Mother’s Day is different.
As I was writing my relationship book, I took some time to look at my relationship with my mother. It provided some real revelations that I thought I would share with you.
These tiny bits of awareness are gifts that time and loving my own children unconditionally have given. Read through them and choose whatever pieces you can carry with you in your own mother daughter dynamic.
Love your mother. It doesn’t matter if she loves you or not. Loving someone is really about you, it’s like giving a gift away and never expecting one in return.
Sometimes the example of how you do not want to be is a valuable gift too, allowing us to more easily define what we want to be and will work harder to become.
Our beliefs are not always truths. Being so close, we don’t always see the entirety of a situation, what has happened in the shadows of someone’s lives and how we each respond is really a reflection of the strength and resilience someone possesses. We are all given different abilities to cope.
In youth, we know, but with age we understand. We need to try to be less critical and more understanding of the choices made by our mothers. We may think we know things when we are younger that really can’t be completely understood until we are older.
We all must bloom where we are planted. Even if the soil is not nurturing and you are not given a healthy dose of sunshine on a regular basis, you can still grow strong and tall.
We are never in the same stage of life as our mothers. It takes real effort to not judge, but instead attempt to relate to whatever stage they are in and hope that our daughters learn to give us that same gift.
Be thankful that your mother didn’t fix everything for you. It has allowed you to grow stronger.
Be very grateful if your mother loves you and showed it often.
I know one thing for certain, if you have a daughter, you need to tell her everyday that you love her. There should never be a doubt that every moment she is alive, she is in the deepest recesses of your heart and mind and no matter how close or far away when she thinks of her mother, the very first thing that comes to mind is that she is loved.
Have a blessed Mother’s Day!