I have always claimed that no child ever loved their mother more than I loved mine.
I know that’s a very outrageous, superlative, statement full of assumptions but my point is that I adored her. And I was blessed to feel her loved towards me just the same. When asked how I have accomplished so much in life I always credit her and say, “I was raised by a mother that made me believe I could do anything!”
Does that mean our relationship was always perfect?
No. Or that I automatically was naturally the same kind of mother. Of course not. Parent/child relationships naturally come with challenges. When I add into the mix that four of my five sweet children had just witnessed the death of their own mother before I stepped into the family, the challenges were multiplied tenfold.
The overriding element that we had was that we all gave each other the benefit of doubt.
They knew I was trying my best to navigate instant motherhood. I knew they had broken pieces within them that would never heal. The process required daily repentance on all of our parts and even more, instant forgiveness. The key was humility. We all came to admit when we were wrong, apologize, and then do everything we could to make things right. We committed to love each other, and to become a family. And no, it wasn’t easy. But today, 34 years later we have wonderful parent/child interactions. I adore each of them and they me.
Messy but still good
My point in sharing this is to let you know that although parent child relationships can sometimes be messy, they can still be good. They are never perfect. And when they are not, someone needs to be the first to reach out.
I remember once at an art show a young woman was reading one of my “mom” prints and exclaimed, “My mom isn’t that great!” My reply to her surprised even me. I suggested that perhaps its time to forgive her shortcomings, and treat her like the mom she wished she was. Let her know that, bottom line, you still love her. And that perhaps giving her such a card would encourage her to live up to it. The young woman burst into tears and humbly chose a print, and left with the bridge she planned on building.
Two years later I was at the same show.
This young woman walked in and threw her arms around me. Behind her, an older woman has tears welling up in her eyes. As the young woman released her embrace, she reminded me of the day we spoke and the “Mom” piece she had purchased. She related how despite the differences they’d had; she was determined to build a bridge. Long conversations followed and these two women are now sharing a closer, more loving relationship.
I’ll never forget the mothers parting statement.
She said, “Can you believe I gave birth to such a magnificent child? And that she would be the one teaching me so much?”
This mother’s day, whether you want to honor the woman who gave you life, the woman who raised you or mentored you or to the child who made you a mother in the first place, reach out to them. Be the one to open up, tell them how you feel, share the love and start creating the kind of relationship you long for. Build a bridge if there is none. Cross that bridge if its there… no matter how wobblily it looks. Be the one to start now and creating the relationship of which you dream.