The mother within us

MotheringToday is Mother’s Day and I’m thankful to have both of my children with me. Whenever my boys visit, they shower me with love and endless mocking. Yes, you read that right, mocking. We were alone during their adolescent years and developed a way of interacting all our own. A little poking here and there, but all in love, all in fun. That’s continued as they got older, and I actually enjoy watching them collaborate and laugh about the typically mom things I do.

I’ve noticed, as they’ve gotten older, gone from being children to grown adults, that the relationship changes. Awkwardly. Any mom’s out there feeling that? They’re biologically wired to start pushing away from their mom in the later teen’s, and by then we might be ready to be done anyways, at least some of the time. They want to be an adult, they’re not ready to be an adult. It’s a push pull that can be hard to navigate. But we do. Because we’re mom’s.

Parenting an adult child can be challenging because, as mom’s, I believe we’re always slightly tethered to them. The feeling fluctuates, but, let’s be real, we grew them in our bodies. There’s a bond there like no other. But as adults, we have to let them live their own lives. There are lessons we can’t learn for them, that they have to experience on their own. It’s from those pains, the successes, that they grow, and become resilient, responsible individuals. Separate and apart from us. It’s their path.

It’s the same thing our own mothers went through, God bless them. I don’t know about any of you, but me, in the teenage years… I would have wanted to be done with me. Cranky, hormonal, snippy, not kind to my mother for several years. But she stuck in there. When I became a mother, I gained a new appreciation for my own. I also had a bonus mom, my stepmother, who was like a mother to me in an infinite number of ways. For both her and my own mother, I am beyond grateful. They put up with me, know me so well they call me on my crap, and love me, unconditionally. That’s what mom’s do.

At the same time, I am mindful today that not everyone has that experience. Mother’s are people, and they have their own “junk,” (yes, me too), that can interfere with healthy parenting. In this phase of life, midlife, each of us has a choice, to hold on to that baggage from childhood, or to forgive. Let go of the ongoing impact. I believe that people, mothers included, do not show up each day wanting to suck. They want to do their best. But sometimes they don’t know how, or they’re managing pressures we have no clue about, that we can’t even imagine. Forgive.

My heart also breaks today for those who have lost their mother. The natural progress of life leads us to that point as we age, but others lose their mothers far too early. In cruel and unexpected twists, mothers are taken, forever impacting the lives of their children. I think of Rachel Held Evans who lost her life last week after what started as a simple infection. She leaves two small children and her husband. Forever impacted. Because of her presence in the progressive Christian “space” (for lack of a better name), people are coming alongside her family, supporting them, loving them. But the impact will be long lasting. Our job, those of us who are fortunate to continue on, is to come alongside families like hers, and those who no longer have their mother. Because we have abundant love to share.

I’m reminded of the idea “it takes a village.” We celebrate our own mothers today or because we’re mothers, but it took a village to get us here. And it will continue to take a village. Women supporting other women, because that’s what we do. The circumstances may be different, but we come alongside, and we support. In a way, Mother’s Day is for all of us. I’m thankful for my village, for each of you, and wish you a happy mother’s day.

 

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