My daughter is 22 and living in a different province from me. She’s an epileptic so needs medication and each month I send her some money toward this medication. The other morning she called to say that she forgot to let me know that she is on benefits at work now and doesn’t need me to send her that money. And asked if I wanted her to send the latest payment back. I had a brief thought of ‘who is this?’ and said ‘uh, no, you can keep it’. We chatted for a bit about her new pet and work and then I had to go get ready for my work. I guess you’d have to know my daughter to understand the significance of this call, but I thought “wow, she’s maturing”. She recognizes that I don’t have a lot of money and rather than coming from a place solely of what she wants and/or needs, she thought of my needs. Huh. There have been other times over the last couple of years that I’ve had similar moments of thinking ‘wow, she’s growing up’. It’s an interesting process. During her teen years I wondered if we’d have any relationship at all when she was an adult. Now I can see it coming. That time when we stop being just mother and daughter and become friends. I think we’ll make it.
I wonder if my own mother had similar moments. I know I was a hellish teenager. Self-destructive and angry. My mother was very supportive of me without pushing her opinions at me. Even when I was a 22 year old single mom with a drinking problem she knew I’d eventually find my way. And I have. I wonder though, if I ever gave her those glimpses of ‘everything is going to be okay’ then. I was very stuck in my dark place and wasn’t seeing glimpses myself for another 10 years. My mom stuck by me through it all, her heart breaking at times, I know. What I made her endure sometimes brings tears to my eyes, it is right now as I write this. Because I know how easy it could be for a mother to force her opinion, to yell at her daughter to get her act together, to try to make her bend to your own will. And I know that would have failed with me. I can only imagine how hard it was for my mother to watch me self-destruct and to trust that I would come out of it not only alive, but having grown from the experience. How hard it must have been for her to stand by and watch her daughter who she had held within her womb for 9 months not care one iota for the life that she’d been given.
Whenever I think of my mother’s greatest attribute, I think of strength. The strength to do what’s right for her children even though it tears you apart inside. And to love them even when they don’t love themselves; respect them when they don’t respect themselves; to gently guide them on their journey back to what their heart needs. My mom is the greatest mom in the world. She has endured her children’s hard times with loving kindness, with no judgement.
Today I will be going to my Mom’s to give her a massage and make brunch. It really is the least I can do. Happy mother’s day to all of you strong mother’s. Know that it’ll all be okay.