I have never had a close relationship with my mother, and so for me, over time, the day became, not just about her, but about the other mothers in my life.
That is not to say that I do not honour the woman that gave me birth, because I do….in as loving a manner as time and space…and pain and longing… allow.
I still cringe when I think of all the hours I spent reading Mother’s Day cards trying to find one that was pleasant and kind without saying things I didn’t feel…or mean…at the time. Christmas and birthdays cards always created the same issues, but not to the extent buying that one card did. Year after year…May after May. Mother’s Day.
Now, I have let the pain go, forgiven and moved on. While the longing for a close and loving relationship is still there, it isn’t nearly as strong as it once was. I have found solice in other relationships that help to fill the void.
Blessings come in many forms and so do mothers. Mine have come in the blessing of a wonderful, loving and nurturing grandmother; in the favour and grace of three of the most amazing, kind, and funny mothers-in-law anyone could imagine. I never understood those mean mother in law jokes, because they never held anything relatable.
I have probably worked harder at the relationship I have with my daughter than any other in my life…and it started the day she was born. I promised her on the moment of her birth that I would be there for her, cherish her, cheer her on, protect her, encourage her, and mostly, love her unconditionally. I told her that no matter what, I would live by that promise and I have tried very hard to do that, but only she can tell you how I’m doing. There have been times we have disagreed, argued, and yelled….but it was never about her. It was always about the things she did or didn’t do….never about HER.
A mother’s love is shown to me in the way my daughters and daughter in law behave with their own children. Loving, supportive, attentive and patient.
I remember something Toni Morrison, a favourite author, once asked: “When your child walks in the room, does your face light up?” Oh my heart! I swear there was a time when I would have given up a year of life just to have seen that on my mother’s face!
Mother’s Day. A day that used to bring me a great deal of sadness and self pity, now brings me great joy. Sometimes we need to recognize that while we can’t change how we were treated, we CAN change how we deal with it. Sometimes the most difficult lessons teach us the most. You can fall into the trap and continue the cycle, or you can choose to stem the tide and make sweeping changes. It’s not as easy when the lessons are difficult and begin at birth, but we all reach an age where we are responsible and accountable for the presence we bring into another’s life.
And so, finally, in this, my 62nd year, I can say with gratitude: Happy Mother’s day to my mother. I was listening.