Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Mother's Day Card to Our Children

Mother's Day brings its share of hype and attention as per the greeting card makers, florists and about every other marketing entity that can attach to it.   For some this is a day of true recognition.  Some stand in front of the cards trying to find the card that says not too much, not too little and even the attempts to say it all over the top can cause even such a minor gesture to be emotionally revealing.

A good friend of mine has always been challenged by her relationship with her mother.  She often will say,  "THIS is just one day.  THIS is just one day.....just one day."

Then there are the mothers that I consider who have suffered loss and how this one day can bring such pain.  The children who have lost mothers endure the physical loss of a mother, the emotional loss and sometimes the absence of a mother who was there, but wasn't there also hold a place close to my heart.  For all of these too, we remember, "THIS is just one day." 

Yet,  I am aware that my own children are wondering how to best say what they might feel a need to say, what they want to say and what they are afraid to say to their own mother.    Regardless of what kind of mother they think I am, I am humbled and honored by THEM.  Of course, it is obvious without them, I wouldn't be even thought of on Mother's Day.

Growing up, I never really thought about being a mother.  I don't remember holding baby dolls or dreaming of names for someday-children.   It wasn't really a matter of not wanting it, I just never really thought  being called mother would be a part of my life.  I think I knew what an awesome responsibility it would be that it truly intimidated me.

Now as I consider these people who call me "Mom" or "Mama" or "Meme" or even "Mommy", I can be brought to tears with just the sound of their voices.  These amazing people in my life have freed me up in ways that I never could have visioned.   Monica, Therese, Victor, Teddy and Johanna showed me that I can be their mother and be a professional business woman, a creative energy, a friend, a mentor and a person of community while still being my unique self and their mother.  As my son Victor has said, "I am terminally unique."  (Yet, another of the many lessons I have learned from my children.)

They freed me to face humility with grace and the knowledge that there is little any of us can do to throw ourselves out of the love of those most dear to us.  I am not talking about labor and delivery type of humbling but rather the experience of living your own life and being part of theirs while letting them discover their own personhood.  For me it was always an envigorating challenge to find ways to help the kids discover their own unique skills and to make choices that helped them to discover their own voice.  It doesn't always happen in a neat progression, but I am glad Henry and I got to witness and live it with them.  Starting with the little stuff like smiling when one of them decided that cowboy boots could go with your dress for the Christmas concert might have horrified other mothers, but I loved that the child felt free enough to be that person.  Becoming a parent means forfeiting  our own visions and sitting on the edge of seats with great anticipation to see what they will discover.  Wow....what a privilege this has been!

I haven't always been the kind of mother I'd probably hoped to be.  I suppose I thought I could learn to be the quiet, demure type of mother--somewhat like the image that I conjure up when I think of the Madonna.  (I am sure my kids are likely rolling on the floor with that image.)   Nonetheless, those five would smile and tell me they would never have wanted me to be that kind of mother.  While I respect that woman, I am a little less graceful and likely less grace-filled.   Maybe this happened because of our children but more likely, I am a painter.  If I paint the world with joy and freedom, I am likely to get a lot on myself too.

I want to be my children when I grow up.  Each of these wonderful people exemplify passion and diligence and great care in all they do.  They don't always do it perfectly or easily, but they live life with little or no regret.  When I tend to hold back in my own life, they are first to remind me that I expected no less of them and that at this particular time I ought do no less than give my best and most earnest efforts with my whole heart and being.

As a human being, I would love to be a person of wisdom and grace and great faith.  I aspire to these traits and values.  I have a hard time seeing these in myself.  Yet, the glimpses I enjoy in our children afford me the chance to take this moment in time to deliver my own Mother's Day Recognition to our children.  If my role as their mother means I get to see the sparkle of great faith or wisdom or grace in them, then I am honored to enjoy being witness to that in their lives and that is enough for me...enough in that I can witness it even when I can't achieve it.

The word "Inspire" means "to breathe life into..." my role as mother is in large part breathed by the Spirit through them.  Everything that flows from my pen, from my sewing machine, my hand, my heart is freed up in a mighty manner by being privileged to be mother to them.

This Mother's Day I am honoring these stubborn, resilient, creative and spirited beings I enjoy calling my daughters and sons.  It is my sincere hope that whether you birthed your own or you are privileged to be able to mother others that you enjoy not so much what you have given them but rather you are able to celebrate all that they have inspired in you!         All the Best to You...jill

1 comment:

pattypotter said...

LOVED the pix of you and the kids...and your message too!