Every person has a mother, not every person has a good mother, or a birth mother in their lives, some have adoptive mothers; some people have dad’s as mothers. Without mothers where would we be? On a practical level….not born.
The greatest lesson I ever learned after I became a mother was that mothers are people too! As crazy and simple as that sounds in my head and now even as I write I still remain in awe of the selfless life a mother lives. Any mother knows the sacrifices but, even in our courage and strength that keeps us on track and everyone alive(we hope), our vulnerable selves are still there.
As a kid, the fifth and last one (the baby, precious and sweet full of sunshine and rainbows!) I grew up knowing that my mom loved me. I never one time questioned that fact. I just knew! It wasn’t because she told me everyday or much all, but she showed me. She rarely ever gave me a harsh turn, usually she was kind and seemed happy to answer whatever need I had.
I also had two “moms in training”, my two big sisters…..they were my “spirit guides” so to speak, if I got off track it would be their fault, a lot of pressure for teenagers but they took on the challenge with kindness and great fun. They raised me on great music and laughter, a love of books and playing board games. I had the best of all worlds.
About the time I was nearly out of high school my mom seemed done. It was like a shift in the atmosphere, as if I could go to the exact moment and feel it all over again, a tangible occasion. She uttered words I had never felt before, words that hurt me at the time, words that really weren’t bad…just finite. I had asked her to order graduation “stuff”….nothing like the swag they have now, mind you but, it must have been a particularly tight time for us but she exclaimed…”I will be glad when you graduate!”
Why was she so harsh, remember I am your precious sweet “favorite kid” right? But she recounted and gave in and I got all the silly stuff I wanted, I graduated. My life was good, went on to college…yadda, yadda…..yadda ……..then I married and had my own precious little baskets of sunshine, four of them(I was a wimp) and then one day WHAMMO! It hit me why…why I felt the space time continuum shift….why I felt my own beautiful, kind mom seem DONE! She was DONE!
Whew I get it. It has nothing to do with her love for me or my siblings, she loved us, fought for us, protected us, sacrificed and did without for us. But after a life lived feeding all the little birds you can only haul worms for so long! I finally understood it….there comes a day when a girls gotta be herself again. It’s not a selfish act it is survival! I think we all go through it and some are more graceful than others. As for me….well I have gained some ground towards my better old self.
My mom found her way. She moved on from every waking moment being sucked dry by her pack of kids, she found the secret door but she never stopped caring which was really all we needed then, she did her best, if we didn’t have it yet we were just sunk, but we did because you’re kids just do. That’s how it works, all little birds grow up and fly away. The wise mother birds moved the best (I kid!)
For years…and years….and years..I would call her up and say “hi mom!” And she would immediately say..”you’re pregnant?” UGH REALLY! Did she have to say that every time? I guess three kids in four years kinda lends to that thinking….oh well and then about the time she felt safe to stop (9 years later!) BOOM! It happened again!!
What’s a mother to do? Really I thought who are you to judge? Little did I realize she was probably thinking ..”been there done that plus one more!” And she had earned the right, she knew what I was headed for, silly me.
So now, my kids nearly grown, that last straggler almost….. my own precious Angel little basket of sunshine has one more year left in high school, I have seen the other side and it looks AWESOME! My mom has done her job, now I wish I could tell her how much I appreciate her but, I am able to listen to her talk about her young girls. The Alzheimer’s has taken her “here and now” but she still has her “back then.” She talks of her three girls but in her mind we are young, teenagers and I feel the love and concern. Feelings that were not so tangible back then as her kid, but now sweet gifts that I swallow up like that little bird.
These days I want to pop in to see her and just say …”Hi Mom!” But I can’t because I am now her “friend.” I call her sweetheart and hug her and hold her hand and let her talk about me….it’s not perfect but it is still sweet. It makes the days when my own four pop home and yell for me…..MOM! I secretly revel that they come or call me first when anything happens…..they know I will rejoice with them or cry with them, help them figure it out (yes….my name is Rosemary and I am an enabler!) I will always be there for them as long as I have breath.
I am seeing a glimpse of that magic portal for which all moms find that helps us become ourselves again. I think it is somehow linked to the washing machine, when it stops running so much…hmmm? It’s a great life to be a mom, I have been blessed and continue to be in awe of my mom and the greatest thing we can show our family is that moms are real people, I know I have revealed probably too much to mine. That’s okay….they are strong and smart, they will have their turn at parenting…..I wish them well.