Why Bother Remembering Your Mother?

We may not all be mothers, but we all have one. They may or may not still be living. We might be able to recall some great moments with her, or some not so great moments. Either way, they bore us or perhaps adopted us, and they became our mother. 

Your Version

Everyone has a different version of a mom. Maybe she was the motherly type, maybe not.  She may have loved the role as a mother, or she could have despised it. You could have been her favorite child or her least favorite child. But, we’ve all experienced the mother child relationship to some extent or another. 

I never connected emotionally with Mom. I preferred my dad who spoke my love language; undivided attention. Maybe he had more time. Motherhood, after all, requires an immense amount of focused time and energy. As the old adage goes; “A man may work from dusk to dawn, but a woman’s work is never done.”

Though my youngest brother can attest to spending time alone with mom before he was old enough to go off to school like the rest of us, I don’t remember ever having that kind of undivided attention from her. 

In my teens, I  tried to mimic the relationships my older sisters had with Mom. They could sit and chat with her like a good friend.  But when I took Mom out for coffee once, it was awkward. We had nothing to say to each other. 

At eighteen, I left home and sometimes would reflect back on my childhood. Recalling  a word or an attitude I’d displayed toward Mom, I’d have regrets. During one of my visits back home to see her, I’d asked forgiveness for the things I thought must have been painful for her.  My words made her uncomfortable, and she could do nothing except to ignore them. 

 Yet even with our lack of emotional connectedness she did teach me a thing or two. She taught me how to drive and how to sort laundry. She also gave me advice, albeit a little quirky. 

She was an avid reader of newsletters, magazines and newspapers and she liked clipping articles out of these publications. Using a black sharpie, she’d write our name at the top of a particular article she wanted us to read, and then put them where we’d see them. 

One such article, Don’t Make Mountains Out of Molehills, appeared on my dresser one morning when I was a high school student. I don’t remember gaining any profound wisdom from the article. I just wondered why we couldn’t just have a face to face conversation. 

By the time I’d married and had my own children, I’d given up analyzing my relationship or lack of relationship with my mother. I quit trying to make it something it never would be; close. I accepted it for what it was, civil, courteous, and diplomatic. 

Why bother remembering your mother? As Mothers Day approaches, I’d like to hear from you about your mother. Was there a piece of advice she gave you that you followed? Did she have a quirky habit that may have irritated you as a child but now you find endearing? Did she teach you something practical that remains a skill for you today? 

If you want to share an honoring memory of your mother, I will post some of them on my blog on Mothers Day. Send them to the my email address found on my contact page and include your name.

Why Bother When You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

Why Bother When You Can’t Always Get What You Want?

It amazes me that I can still remember the important lines to Mick Jagger’s song, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. Maybe it’s because Mick repeated those same words over and over searing them into the brain of young teenagers all over America back in the 1970s. “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” 

Recalling those words now, long past my awful teen years, I think they remain in my brain because they ring true. We don’t always get what we think we want, but what we do get, is exactly what we need.

I always wanted a close relationship with my mother; one where I talked and she listened. I yearned for her to understand me, and for our hearts to connect on some deep and emotional level. But it never happened.

 I’d watch with jealousy as Mom laughed and talked with her girlfriends over the phone. Why can’t she do that with me? I’d listen while she and one of my older sisters conversed over a glass of ice tea on the back porch. Why them and not me?

Maybe our mother daughter relationship was less than what I wanted because I was the fourth and final daughter. Maybe because I was the sixth child. Maybe we were too much alike or too different. Maybe Mom was just too damn tired to have any more relationships by the time I was old enough to have one with her.  

Either way, I did not get what I wanted from her. Instead, I got other things. She taught me how to drive even though I tried her patience.

She didn’t exactly instruct me on how to follow a recipe, rather she showed me how to create something edible from what we already had in the refrigerator. She called it improvising. 

She introduced me to the art of sorting a mountain of dirty laundry into smaller piles according to colors and how to set the washer; colors on cold, whites on hot.

Though I showed little interest in how to keep my turtle necks from getting stretched out of shape, she gave me a lesson on how to take them off the hanger so they kept their shape. 

Mom did not communicate directly with me unless I made her mad. Then she’d let me have it, “Don’t you ever….. “ Otherwise, when she wanted to share some philosophical bit of wisdom, she usually found an article in the newspaper to say it for her. She’d clip out the story, write my name at the top in black sharpie and leave it on my dresser. 

I clearly remember the title of one such article, Don’t Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill. She expected me to read it, but she did not expect me to make any comments to her about it afterward. It was her way of letting me know that she noticed me, I guess. 

I put a lot of hope in my relationship with my mom, but then eventually realized that what I’d hoped for just wasn’t going to pan out. It took some time for me to release her from those presumptions I’d held onto, but I finally let her off the hook.  

I guess even though I’d listened to and even sang along to Mick’s song, the true meaning did not sink in until long after I’d grown past those awful teen years. 

Why bother when you can’t always get what you want? Well what you get is worth it if you consider what you have. 

Why Bother Honoring a Mother’s Heart?

Why Bother Honoring A  Mother’s Heart?

Though I never thought I’d see myself living past the age of twenty-two, getting married or becoming a mom, my short sightedness proved wrong. I’ve lived way past the age of twenty-two, I’m married and have three sons. 

My husband was the first one to mention the idea of starting a family. His biological clock ticked five years ahead of mine so it made sense he’d think of that sooner than me.  

At the time though, his plan frightened me. Motherhood was uncharted territory. My own mom had not been a terrific role model and I felt uneasy about the kind of mom I’d make. But I’d noticed other mothers at church and in the grocery store and knew the kind of a mom I didn’t want to be.  

In the first place, I didn’t want to bribe my child into obedience, ignore green snot running out of their nose or dress them in stained clothes. I didn’t want to yank them into behaving or or have them yanking on me for anything. I wanted to be attentive to their needs, yet I did not want to give into their every whim either. 

My observational research also showed that parenting was tough work. Unlike being a wife, I’d be awakened at all hours of the night to fill my baby’s belly from my breast and then rock them back to sleep. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for several years, I’d need to be attentive to them since I’d be responsible for shaping them into a civilized human being.  

The role of motherhood would not be a short term commitment. Saying yes to this idea of  making a family was a decision not to be taken lightly. Never-the-less I agreed with my husband’s viewpoint and soon the miracle of a new life began forming inside of me. 

Wanting to know everything there was to know about becoming a mom,  I read every pamphlet and booklet my doctor gave me. I interviewed friends who’d experienced pregnancy and childbirth and asked them questions. The changes to one’s body, especially the enlarged belly, seemed unimaginable to me. Another case of my short sightedness. My belly did grow large, my weight did increase and I waddled. 

As my due date drew near, my husband and I attended Lamaze classes. Though it crossed my mind that it was a man, who of course never personally experienced labor, developed this principle to breath through each contraction, I bought into the idea and practiced it every day. 

By the time my labor began, I believed my knowledge would carry me through whatever lay ahead. After thirty-two hours of breathing through wave after wave of pain, our eight pound son emerged through my ten centimeter opening. Whew!

My husband cut the umbilical cord and the nurse laid the naked and slightly blue boy on my belly. I was amazed to see a completely formed little human being. But something else happened too.

A day or so later, still in the hospital comfortable and recovering, I lay in bed nursing my newborn. My hand smoothed over the top of his downy head, my finger rubbed his chubby cheek and moved down his little neck. He stopped nursing and his blue eyes held my gaze. 

What was this that made me want to cry and smile at the same time? I could not turn my eyes away from him. He had my full attention. All the knowledge in the world had not prepared me for what I felt at that moment. No one had ever told me that when you became a mother, you got a mother’s heart too.  

Despite the cutting of the umbilical cord there is a connection that lies between me and each of my sons. Though I once thought that when they were grown and gone from home this mother’s heart of mine would no longer exist, I was wrong. It does. Even as grown men, they still hold the strings of my heart. I cannot dismiss, deny or sever it.  It is a tie that still makes me want to cry and smile when I think of them. 

Why bother honoring a mother’s heart? It is worth it and unique to mother’s everywhere. Besides, there is no way to eliminate it. Acceptance is probably the best policy.