Sunday, May 14, 2017

On being "Mom"

Every year Mother's Day is a day I reflect on my own mother and how much she shaped my life and made me the person I am today - and how much I miss her now that she's no longer with us. But this year I'm taking a different tact and want to talk instead about what it's meant to me to be a mother myself.

I could never have imagined one year ago what this year would bring into my life. Of course, the circumstances were already in place, but I was unaware of them and therefore blissfully ignorant as they say. (Blissful ignorance has its benefits, but I prefer the harsh light of truth, which is exactly what I got...sadly with both full barrels...) Because of these events, this year I look at Mother's Day as the true validation of my life. Because without my children I'm not sure how I would have coped with any of what transpired.

Each one of my babies was a true blessing. They were all concieved in great love - I adored their father! I threw myself into every pregnancy with abandon, studying books about childbirth and preparing by sewing and knitting and creating a place for them to come home to. They were as different and as special as they possibly could have been, each was a beautiful baby and all delightful little people as they grew, bringing me new joy every single day of their too-sort time in my house. Each one began, and continued, with their own personal strengths and special personality quirks, and each one has grown to be an amazing adult, bringing me so much joy and meaning along the way. I love being their mother and I adore them all. I was blessed to be chosen for the task of raising them and could do it all over again in a heartbeat - this time with the wisdom of age and lots of experience, hopefully doing a better job for their sakes!

When the horrors of this year unfolded, from the very beginning, they were there for me. They've done as much as they possibly could to ease my pain and make my life move in a forward direction. They've been there every step of the way and they've seen me through some of the most unimaginable pain and deepest, darkest days, and they've taught me many things along the way. All the same time suffering their own pain and trying to cope themselves.

I've learned so much about myself, and my children, during this difficult year. I've learned that I need to stand on my own feet and not depend on them for things they aren't capable of, despite their most earnest intentions and desires. I've learned that children can only understand so much about their parents, who have more life experience and less time ahead of them than they do.  And I've learned that as much as they want to, they can't always be there. They have lives of their own, and that's as it should be. Its what we want for them after all! So I've learned to lean less and stand taller alone.

But most importantly I've learned that they are amazing, strong, loving adults who will step out of their own comfort zone to help me whenever they can. I've learned that my life, which I sometimes look at with disappointment, was worth so much more than I thought it was simply because my life produced theirs. And that alone gives me the purpose and validity I thought I lacked because I didn't have a career or in some other meaningful way give back to the world. I may not have invented the cure for cancer, but I made the world a kinder, better place because of these four people I gave to it. Not to mention the ten grandchildren that also came from my own humble beginning. Who knows what any one of them might do in the future? Maybe that's my cure for cancer!

This year has made me a better person, a better parent (I hope), and much more aware than ever before of how very lucky I am to be mother to these four. And I thank God for that. Happy Mother's Day indeed. And thank you to Amanda, Elizabeth, Joshua, and Tyler for letting me be theirs. 

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