Mother’s Day has got me thinking about being a mother and the meaning of motherhood. What it means to me to be a mother. What it means to me.
My daughter, my firstborn, just celebrated her 30th birthday. Thirty years? Thirty YEARS! Wow, how can that be? One minute I was 15 and now I’m almost 50. One minute I was a 5 year old kid and now I’m a grandmother! What? That can’t be true, I’ve only just begun! Sometimes it feels like I’ve just completed a 30 year tour with the military. That’s not to minimize the importance and sacrifices of the military in any way; it’s just that sometimes I feel like I’ve just crawled out of the trenches after 30 years to find myself broken and beat up. I have the scars of raising children on my own. My heart has been broken, and my body is battered from years of working really hard. But, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. The life experience I gained from raising two human beings is incomparable to anything else I’ve done.
Motherhood taught me way more than any career I’ve ever worked at. Being a mother taught me to be patient, kind and loving. I learned how to negotiate issues into a peaceful resolve. I learned to multi-task before it became a catchphrase for employers to overwork their employees. I learned to prioritize my time to achieve optimal results. I learned how to be flexible and change my plans without getting too upset. I was amazed to watch these little people with their own unique personalities learn about the world around them. They showed me how to take delight in the simple things in life. I quickly realized the greatest gift I could give my children was my time. As much as they loved presents and being surprised, our best times were spent at the beach or watching movies together. We share an unbreakable bond because I invested the time needed to help them realize their potential and encouraged them to do magical things with their lives. I hope that I have given them the right tools to deal with life when it gets complicated. I hope I have shown them how to weather the inevitable storms that come their way. I hope they remember their childhood fondly and forgive me for mistakes I’ve made along the way. I hope one day they will look back at all the events I took them to and realize that I tried to expose them to many different cultures in order to expand their minds.
My heart goes out to all the people who don’t have their mother with them anymore. My favourite aunt died in March. I spent the last few weeks of her life at her bedside. She was like a mother to me, and the loss I feel is deep. She was my confidante, I could tell her anything and she always listened with understanding and compassion. She never judged me or ever said a harsh word. Instead, she would listen intently to what I said, never interrupting, always focusing on what I was trying to tell her. Only after I was completely finished would she offer her opinion and advice. She never came down on me or made me feel bad about myself. We would talk it through and I would leave with a hug and a feeling of peace in my heart. She was the type of person who made you feel better about yourself and gave you hope for the future. I wish I could call her and talk about how great this weather is. I wish she was here to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.
I am so thankful that I have two wonderful adult kids who call me on a regular basis. I’m thankful that I gave as much time to my kids as I did when they were younger. They are still an integral part of my life. This weekend I have been invited to a brunch by my son-in-law. It feels wonderful to be appreciated for the things I do. My grandbabies give my life new meaning and my house comes to life when it is filled with their laughter and innocence. I am able to release my inner child when my grandbabies come over for a visit. We go upstairs and put a CD on and dance and sing along to the music. They are especially fond of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks music. We dress up in costumes, get out our tambourines and rock out together. I hope I leave them with fond memories of our time spent together.
Lastly, I’d like to wish my own mother a very Happy Mother’s Day. We have always had a complicated relationship and we don’t always agree on everything, but she is still my mother and I only want her to be happy in life. I hope she realizes before it’s too late that it’s okay that we disagree on many things. It’s taken me a long time and years of therapy to realize that it’s okay that we are different from each other. It doesn’t make me a bad person because we have different beliefs. It doesn’t mean I love her any less. It just means that we are all unique individuals and should accept each other. I will always be thankful for the time and energy she put into raising us. I will always cherish my memories of the good times spent together. I will forever be grateful that my mother kept a clean house, and took great pride in our appearance. I’m thankful that she taught me how to read at an early age and always had music playing in the house. I’m happy she taught me how to cook and clean and be independent. I’m glad she was a good grandmother to my children and has always been generous with them. Things might not be perfect, but they are okay. Life is beautiful!