On Mother’s Day, it only seems appropriate that I’ve spent a lot of time lately considering my place among the ranks of moms. Like the rest who take on this incredible duty, I’m often full of questions, anxiety and frustration. What if I’m not doing this right? Why does my two-year-old run from me screaming at the simplest of parental requests? (Answer: he’s two.) Will he appreciate my example, my guidance, the choices I’ve made for him along the way, or will he resent me and turn into someone I won’t recognize as my son?
For the most part, however, I’ve been pretty happy with my performance in this vocation so far. I’ve found deep wells of patience, love, laughter and lightness within myself over the last two and a half years. Stores of creativity that had been dormant in me for some time are back in daily use. Through parenting my child, I have learned the value of instinct, of trusting myself, sometimes because of and sometimes in spite of the words or attitudes that may come at me from outside.
I am a mother. And I am an incredible mother. And to give credit where it’s due, it’s because I’ve had some great teachers.
For as long as I can remember, people have told me how much I look like my own mother. And there was a time, probably when I was a teenager, that this bothered me. The last thing I wanted to be was like either one of my parents. Because, really, how lame would that have been? [/eyeroll] But as I walked my path to maturity, I began to realize what a great thing it would be not only to look like my very good-looking parents, but to be like them, too.
My dad is patient and considerate and funny and respectful. He’s thoughtful and clever and spiritual, loyal and devoted, he is joyful and loves life and his family in a way that’s written all over his face. My mom is unique. She dances to the beat of her own drum and has such pride and confidence in who she is. She is open and dramatic and dedicated to her work, her family and her friends. She is generous and engaging and beautiful and creative. I would love to hope that half of these great qualities ended up somewhere in me.
My other teacher probably has no idea of the extent I have been and continue to be influenced and changed because of him. Without him, I would not be the mother I am today. I would not be a mother at all. I keep learning new things from my son every day. Things about the world, about being a good role model, about nurturing, comforting, loving… and mothering. We’re at such an amazing place in our relationship right now. I finally feel like I might actually know a thing or two about what the heck I’m doing as a mother instead of just faking my way along until I stumble over a solution to whatever the daily problem happens to be. When my boy looks at me, and I can see the understanding in his eyes. When I can help him calm down from a fall or a scrape with the cure-all mommy kiss and cuddle. When he tells me “thank you,” or “I’m sorry” without any prompting. When he chomps my belly or invites me to “nap” with him first thing in the morning. When he says, “I love you, Mommy” instead of calling me “Daddy” or “Oma.” Those are just a few of the times I get to see that whatever it is I’m doing, I’m doing something right.
Thank you to all the mothers I’ve known. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve all given me a lesson or two to take back to my world. Mothers of friends I had growing up, mothers of boyfriends, of a fiance, a husband. Grandmothers, mothers I’ve only ever known through books or the web, mothers who have crossed my path in classes, groups, friends’ parties, or brief moments of discussion at my job. Bless you for the work that you do. Be as proud of yourselves as you are of your kids–take some credit for their awesomeness because you deserve it. We rock!
Happy Mother’s Day.