I don’t know why some people have great family experiences and others have awful ones.
I don’t know how some people are amazing parents and others are little more than glorified sperm and egg donators.
I don’t know why that for me family is synonymous with safety, security, love, and acceptance while others hear the word and it means nothing but pain and unhappiness for them. Maybe it doesn’t even mean anything, its just a word with no attachment.
Growing up, I had no idea that other people’s families weren’t like mine. Even as an adult, it’s still hard for me to comprehend that not everyone is as close to their extended family as I am. My cousins (from first to fifth) are closer to me than some siblings. My aunts and uncles would (and have) take me in on a moments notice and provide me with support and anything else I could ask for. It is not this way for everyone, and that makes me very unhappy.
The reason I’m saying all of this is because today I want to talk about my mom, because this weekend was Mother’s Day. I know that not everyone celebrates this day and that for some it might even be a hurtful day when the pressure is on, and if you don’t have a relationship with your mother it seems like you’ve done something wrong. You haven’t. Some people are mothers, and some people just provided you with a womb for nine months. I just hope that if anyone is dealing with any sort of issues this time of the year they are able to reach out to the women in their lives who have supported and loved them and filled a space that their own mother left empty.
In my case, I don’t think I could have been gifted with a better mother.
My mom has been the one constant my entire life. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is also a wonderful person who is deserving of his own post, but my mom was literally always there. She was a stay at home mom and it has only been very recently in my life that I have understood exactly what this means. It means there is no escape from your children. It means you may never not have sticky handprints all over the place or have a moment to yourself or not get so tired of your children arguing with each other that you might just go a bit stir crazy.
I feel like for some reason as a population we tend to view stay at home parents with a little bit of disdain. Sure, they’re raising children and that’s very important, but it is really work? As a bratty child, I remember asking my mom at least a couple of times what she really did. I could see my dad leave and go to work and come home and do it all over again, but mom was always there. What was she really doing?
Before I even got into middle school I was playing two instruments with weekly lessons and played soccer, softball, and basketball with weekly practices. My mom drove me to every single one. Anytime I had a game or a recital she was there. I do not think my mother missed a single time when I was doing anything, and I wasn’t even very good at sports.
My little brother played trumpet, guitar, and drums over the course of the time he lived with my parents. He played basketball, t-ball, baseball, and soccer. In high school he was a wrestler. It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that he began to drive himself to anything, so for all of those years my mom was there, all of her time and plans dependent on the movements and doings of my brother and me.
When I got into high school I started acting, and that meant rehearsals after school. I also participated in a variety of things from National Honor Society to student council, and still playing piano and flute. Anytime we had a talent show or a field trip or did anything on campus they needed parental support for, my mother was there.
She came to any performance I ever did.
Unlike my brother, I couldn’t wait to start driving. I’ve always been very independent, and as I was growing up I misinterpreted my mother’s actions as smothering and weird. It bothered me that she was so interested in what was going on. I looked at my friends’ mothers and saw very few examples that behaved like mine, so in typical awful-child fashion, I decided there was something odd about my mother, intend of realizing that I was the one blessed.
I stopped telling her when things were happening and complained when she showed up to support me. I wouldn’t let her come to my Interp tournaments or share with her about anything. She was always there for me, anytime I was tired or upset or just needed support, but I never gave her anything. I can only imagine how much this hurt someone who had given 17 years of her life over to the whims of her children.
I don’t know what your childhood looked like. I don’t know if your mother was devoted as mine is or if you were as bratty and selfish as me. I was just completely unaware. My mother gave herself over so completely to my brother and me that it never occurred to me to think of her as anything other that what I needed.
I implore you to remember that our mothers are people too. They have hopes and dreams and they can be discouraged and sad and broken. They allow us to take what we need and very rarely do we wonder if they need anything in return.
I have never met a person who is more interested in people than my mother. She is so good at connecting. It’s funny, because as a a kid I thought it was irritating, that she always wanted to know my business. Of course now, I’m completely aware that absolutely no one really wants to know what’s going on in a 7th graders life. They’re weird and bratty and going through puberty and generally awful to be around. My mom didn’t actually care about my day to day doings as they were, she just wanted to connect with me. To show me that she was there no matter what. If I had been willing to share my bizarre and trivial middle school doings, she would have listened and they would have been important to her because they were important to me.
No matter what I did or how I behaved, my mother loved and continues to love me. I try to connect with my parents at least once a week now, just to chat, but there are some days where I find myself calling my mom three or four times a day. We always laugh and say I must have just been missing her that day.
I’m sorry if your mother wasn’t a good one. I’m sorry if mother’s day is hard for you.
I’m forever grateful for my mama. She’s a good one. I don’t deserve her. I miss her cooking. I wish I could force myself to be as sincerely invested in people as she is. I’m glad I’ve grown up. I hope I make her proud.