Monday, May 12, 2008

About mothers

Yesterday was Mother's Day -- the third since mine died -- and I did a lot of thinking about motherhood while I was cleaning out my closet (transitioning from winter to summer), washing and folding clothes, grocery shopping, and generally doing stuff that needed doing -- which I also did most of Saturday, only it was in the garden and cleaning off the front porch and mucking out the kitty houses.

So. Mothers.

Mother's Day really glorifies mothers, don't you think? All those schmaltzy cards, gift ideas, reservations for dinner, etc. -- makes every single mother sound practically like a saint. And come on, folks, you KNOW that's not true.

I'm sure many mothers really do the best they can for their kids, fix good, healthy meals, help them with homework, attend various sports events, always know what's going on with their kids, and so on. I sure tried, and that was with me working full time (where DID I get the energy!)

And I still felt like a failure so many times, like the worst mother in the universe, in history probably. And my kid, probably like yours, pretty much told me that more than once when she was a teenager -- but that's what teenagers do, remember...

But there are some truly awful mothers too, y'know? You read about them in the newspaper, locking their child in a cage, or pimping them out for drugs, or driving them into a lake. Beating them with words and whips. It makes me wonder why they were lucky enough to have children...

And yet the primary person in everyone's memory is mom, no matter how awful. There is a bond that is almost impossible to overcome, even when it is in a person's best interests to do so.

And realizing that, it becomes so important to take care of that relationship between mother and child, to honor it and treasure it and nurture it, even when you told you are the worst mother in the world, even when you FEEL like the worst mother in the world. Even when your kid is driving you crazy, worrying you beyond worry, behaving like no child you could have raised!

That bond lasts beyond death. Ask anyone who has lost their mother. She's right there, whispering in your ear, praising, scolding, loving.

That's what it's about: loving.

I had a long, loving talk with one daughter yesterday, a talk that gave me hope for her and a belief that she is going to be okay. And I heard from another daughter who is slogging through a hard time, step by step, and with more confidence and practicality than I'd have imagined she could have.

It made me feel good that I'm their mom.

And then today, a card came thanking me for listening, and saying how proud my daughter is to call me mom and her best friend. It made me cry. And it makes everything worth it -- all the worry, the fear, the uncertainty, even the times when I felt like the worst mother in the world. Today I felt like the best one.

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