Mother’s Day is very special to me. I honor my mother and all the women who have mothered me over the years. Also, as a mom now myself, I feel this is a day I earned unlike my birthday or other popular holidays. It is a day I find myself reflecting on how becoming a mom, through both biology and adoption, changed so much of how I see myself and the world.
Trying to capture what being a mom taught me is like catching the wind; it is both illusive and invisible. But here is my Top Ten for 2014:
- Unconditional love is an amazing blessing and an incredible burden. When one of my children tells me, “I love you, Mom” or “You are the best, mom,” I experience a bit of what I expect heaven must be. But I die inside a little each time, and the pain is physical, when I worry something happened to one of my kids like when they are lost (my second made this a habit for a period) or hurt (my eldest tested different ways) or scared (my littlest has moments of fear that haunt me).
- My kids teach me probably as much as I teach them although not always in expected ways. By being uniquely their own people, they just approach life and relationships with their own lens. My eldest is fearless (his bucket list makes me queasy); my second can find joy in the details (who knew there could be so many), and my youngest is song and dance combined (I live in a musical with her). The more I am open to this, the more I see things I might have otherwise missed.
- Each child is unique. And they are different at each stage of their life. Treating each fairly doesn’t mean treating them the same. They often need something special from me. And at each phase what they need evolves usually just as I thought I had a handle on it. Keeping up is not easy as I now have children who are 6, 13 and 17.
- My kids are only mine to help on this part of their own journey. Adoption helped me see this so starkly although it was always true. As a mom, it was an important, although rather uncomfortable, epiphany for me. I want to claim them but have come to realize they will ultimately need to claim the relationship we have as adults when they are grown.
- To assist my children effectively, I need to truly work to understand where they are coming from and who they are, deep inside their most private selves, even as they are constantly changing and may not share or even know themselves. Having two teenagers and a complicated kindergartner highlights this challenge for me.
- I am on my own journey which is only somewhat further down the path. As I continue to grow as a person, I must apply those learnings to this role. I need to be brutally honest with myself and work to identify and face things I haven’t figured out so I don’t project them on my kids. Keeping this awareness is not simple.
- I must accept the painful truth that my best will not always be good enough to give my kids what they need. Even more painfully, there are some days I am not even my best. Explaining and apologizing to my children is necessary so they understand we are all human and we all fail.
- Having a partner in parenting is a priceless gift. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and sharing the experience with my husband and best friend makes the joys more joyous and the lows more manageable. Plus a timely hand-off of a child who has tested my patience and understanding to it's breaking point has more than once saved my sanity.
- Being a good friend and mother to myself so I am in tune to what I need to feel complete is a huge part of being the best mom to my kids I can be. My early mothering years would have greatly benefited from this realization and investment
- Laughter and HUGS are two of the best antidotes for whatever motherhood and life throws at me. If I genuinely laugh out loud and hug with feeling one of my children, we can then get to the other side of any issue together.
Thank you to my amazing kids for making me a mom. Thank you to my best friend for sharing this parenting journey with me. I love each one of you with my whole heart (love multiplies with each new member – who knew?)! I am so proud of the people you are becoming - -kids and adults. I look forward to a lifetime of learning, and more importantly, of laughter and of hugs!
Sharing some priceless memories we made this amazing Mother's Day weekend in Rome.
Happy Mother's Day to every mother or person who has been mothered or mothered another! May learning and laughter and hugs be part of your journey.