I heard a quote somewhere that said something like, “we view ourselves as our mothers see us“…….I probably mangled the quote, and I really can’t remember where I read it, but the meaning stuck with me. Could it actually be true? There is no stronger bond than that of the parent and child, or more complex. If that is true, then the bond between Moms and Daughters is even more complicated.
For every daughter who has a mom worthy of the glowing phrases found in a Hallmark card, I am sure there are 4 or 5 that don’t. I am very blessed and grateful that it has always been easy for me to celebrate Mom’s day. My mom has made it so. She was there emotionally and physically for me, always…..she still is, I am happy to say.
Some daughters spend their whole lives trying to “get over” their mother. And some spend all their lives trying to please a mother who will not be pleased; who remains as emotionally and physically available as a brick wall. My best friend comes to mind immediately. Sometimes, as she says, “I thank her for doing the best she could at the time, and for giving me life.” I don’t know that I could be as gracious as she is.
My Mom always hated Mother’s Day. Finding a card was always difficult. My Grandmother was emotionally distant and critical of her daughters and yet displayed open affection for her son. In her defense, she lost a precious little girl to a shooting accident when she was only four. I often wonder if she just couldn’t allow herself to show affection for my Mom and Aunts because of her guilt about Annie.
Some things she did do right. She created a warm atmosphere in their home in many ways. They always came home to meals and home baked pastries and a clean house. To her credit, she was very demonstrative in her love for me and my brother. I think mixed in with her love for me was pity, since I was born 3 months premature and was a small pale child. She was always trying to feed me.
Even great moms struggle with guilt……they think they haven’t done enough. They see the mistakes they made instead of all the things they did right. My Mom told me on the phone yesterday, “It’s hard for me to think of myself as a good Mom.” I was floored.
As daughters we tend to remember that one barb that stuck, that one hurtful thing our Mom said that she may not have even been aware of saying, nevertheless we remember it.
Mother’s Day for those of us without kids can be uncomfortable. An innocent question like, “What are you doing for Mother’s Day” and all of a sudden I feel like I am on the other end of the Spanish Inquisition about why I don’t have kids. Most of the time it’s all in my head. They just asked a question, after all.
Just because I haven’t had any doesn’t mean I haven’t mothered in some way shape or form. In fact, I feel very sure that within all women there resides a she-wolf that would step in front of a truck to save even someone else’s child. Its just a part of who we are.
There’s a whole world of children out there who have benefited by someone who picked up where Mom left off. Someone who sacrificed without giving it a second thought. Auntie, Grandma, best friend, teacher……Imagine where some of those kids would be if no one had stepped up.
There was one moment in particular when I felt like I was briefly ushered in to the Mommy community. I was dropping my little niece Lauryn off at school when I noticed the booger hanging halfway out her cute little nose. Instantly I was mortified that she might be teased by her classmates, so I took my bare finger (cause that was all I had) and got it out for her. Then I understood that thing that comes alive in you as a parent. That thing that says, I will do whatever it takes to protect you.
So today I honor all Mothers in whatever capacity you serve. Because being a good Mom is the toughest job in the world and one of the most important assignments God will ever give you. You deserve more than just one day…..
“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis