Sunday, May 11, 2014

This Mothers Day is for them

Mother’s Day, for me, has evolved over the years.  Celebrating this day since I became a Mother 19 years ago has been full of emotions but in a different way every year.  This year I think I might have finally experienced a ripening, if you will, of my attitude toward Motherhood.

I'm not sure exactly why. 

Maybe it has to do with my reuniting with Delaney this last year and the roller coaster that has sent me on that is still in full-swing. How she is all but a grown woman and soon enough she will be moving on to motherhood herself. Maybe its all the pondering on nurture vs nature?.  How do I make her love me? How do you be a Mother when you cant be a Mom?

Maybe its that Braiden is about to turn 15 and he pretty-much is a man.  He just has a little bit of growing and a (lot) bit of learning left to do.    How do I weather that teenage storm and what will I do without him when he is gone?  How do I not be THAT mom?

Maybe its because my sweet Baby Paige is starting to look and act like a young woman.  She is almost 9 and she loves her mommy so much even though sometimes I'm not sure why.    Am I a good enough example for her? Will she be like me when she grows up? 

Maybe its because Cameron started playing soccer this last month and all of the sudden he is strong and confident and wants to be independent.  How did that even happen?  How do I make sure he is okay?  Will he love himself enough?

Maybe its because Max is losing all his baby-ness...and all I want is for him to stay, stay, baby. How will I cope when he doesn't want to snuggle with me anymore?

Or maybe its because, barring some unplanned, unforeseen failure of modern birth control, I have decided that I am done baring children.  Done.  Finite.  No more.  It may not sound like it, but it makes me so, so sad.  Did I do what I was supposed to do?  Was it enough?

Maybe its because over the last couple years I have learned how to look at my own mother as perfect imperfect human being.  Someone who, like me, struggled through Motherhood, while under totally different circumstances, she did it the best way she knew how...and still...does it the best way she knows how. Someone who, like me, loves her children so much it hurts. How can she possibly know how much I love her in spite of her imperfections and my occasional bouts of frustration with her?

I look at all of my ever-changing offspring daily and can't believe what a special gift was given to me. Sometimes I have no idea what God was thinking.  I haven't always made the best or right choices in Motherhood.  I doubt myself regularly (ie the above italicized questions), make stupid mistakes, miss chances that I will never get again, spend too much time on my computer, tell my self that I am not good enough and compare myself to the illusion of others' perfection.  Why on earth would anyone trust me with these tiny souls??   

Motherhood has made me question every little thing about myself because I want my little (and not so little) souls to look at me, and someday the memory of me, and know that I loved them so much it hurt.   


"If there is one thing I have learned over the past six years as a mother, it is this:

Motherhood is exquisitely, breathtakingly beautiful.

But it is also overwhelmingly painful.

My heart opened up in ways that I never thought possible the moment that I first laid eyes on my daughter, a squalling bundle of baby limbs on my chest that caused my breath to catch in a way that feels like it will never fully recover. I remember thinking, “Oh, it’s you!” because I felt instinctively that she was someone my heart had always known and would always recognize.

So while becoming a mother has literally transformed my life with its love, it has also brought an unexpected ache.

When I log on to my computer in the morning and see the heartbreak of a mother, her son taken too soon, my heart aches with her pain.

When I sneak in at night just to watch my children’s chests rise and fall in the peace of sleep, my eyes fill with tears with the wish that I could keep them this safe forever.

When I look down at the little hand locked in mine, a perfect trust in me, I want to weep for the knowledge that someday, they will see my imperfections.

When I feel arms wrapped tight around my neck, I pray the fervent prayer of mothers everywhere that their love will never leave me.

When a gentle flutter becomes a kick that keeps me up at night, I rub my belly and wonder how I will safeguard the precious soul entrusted to me against the world outside. Can I do enough? Will I be enough?

Nothing has spliced me open like the rawness of motherhood; a love so fierce I know I would die for it; a heart so big it hurts to carry; a knowledge so immense in realizing that in doing my job well, these little beings who make up my days will venture into the world…without me.

Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful–so very thankful–for all that motherhood has brought into my life. The soon-to-be four little people who brighten my days and draw on my walls; the smiles and laughter that fill my home; the flowers picked too soon that litter my desk.

But what I really want this Mother’s Day might be too much to ask for.

Because who can tell me how it’s possible to live with a heart that loves and breaks at the same time?"

- Chaunie Brusie.  See the full article here

I found this article today and I love the way the author describes how beautiful motherhood is and that the pain that comes with it is equally as exquisite.  The physical, the emotional, spiritual, the psychological... it goes on.  I know the "ache" she mentions.  It can't be described. I felt it the first time I looked in each of their tiny faces and feel it every day as I send them out to be on their own.  It's there when I get frustrated at them for not doing something my way, and it's there when I see them taking pride in their own accomplishments. It's there when I am with all 5 of them...and its there when one of them is missing.  How can I keep them safe?

I just want to hold them and never let them go. I want to turn back time and undo my choices that effected their lives and take away every harsh word I ever said. I don't want the world to lay its filthy hands on them and steal them away to adulthood.  I don't ever want them to feel pain or loneliness and I don't ever want them to figure out that I am not perfect.  

So back to my original comment about my "ripening" into Motherhood... I no longer look at being a Mother as a social expectation or milestone, a right of passage, or an expected part of my gender role anymore.  As my children turn into actual PEOPLE, I see my part in their lives as a piece of who I am.  It's like breathing.  Its no longer a choice, it just is.  I will never go a day or a second without being the one who gave them life...and I will forever ache for them as they leave my arms and take on the world.  All I can do is pray that the love I show them will give them the strength and the confidence to bare everything that comes with life. I made it, and so can they.   

Mothers Day, just like every one of their birthdays, makes me think hard about where my path is leading them.  I want to do the best for them with what I have. I know that won't be perfect but I know that every choice I make will effect them for my whole life.  I have accepted that fact. I will likely continue to doubt myself along the way and make more mistakes.  I guess the truth is that if this were a perfect world, children wouldn't need mothers...and if I were perfect, I wouldn't need them like I do.

Am I the only one who lays awake at night and worries about their babies and asks themselves silly questions with no answers?  I know I'm not because my own Mother warned me it would happen.  I just didn't really believe her until recently.

I am a Mother.  More importantly, I am a Mother to each of my children in a very individual way.  I know that each of them will recall their experience with me differently just as my siblings and I do about our childhoods.  

I celebrate Mothers Day in honor of the tiny souls that made me a Mother and the Mother that showed me how to weather the storm.

No comments: