It is Mother’s Day. A time to celebrate. A time to give thanks. A time to say, I love you mom.
I was the final note in a quartet of children. The ‘baby’ of the family, I had my way. I was spoiled, rotten, my siblings would tell you. My mother despaired for me. “How will you ever get by in life if you always do it your way?” she would ask. “Why can’t you just listen to me?” she would plead. “Why can’t you be like the others?”
My mother and I often fought. We argued about hair and make-up, the shortness of my skirts, the length and colour of my fingernails. We disagreed on most things from the boys I liked to the dreams I held dear. We saw the world through different eyes, from how safe it was, to how beautiful it is. We seldom saw the same colour. She saw blue. I saw cerulean. She saw red. I saw crimson. We seldom heard the same song. She heard a lark singing. I heard an eagle calling.
When I was a little girl, I remember my mother fussing with my hair, straightening my blouse, insisting I dress the same as my older by 2 and a half years sister. I didn’t want to dress the same. I didn’t care if my blouse was straight. I just wanted to get on with life. To get out into the world and explore.
And my mother feared for me.
I used to think it was because she didn’t trust me. Didn’t believe I knew how to be, out there, out beyond the ties that bound me to the umbilical cord of her love. I thought she didn’t want me to grow, to achieve, to become all I wanted to be.
It wasn’t until I became a mother that I understood. It wasn’t until I struggled to achieve my impossible dream of being there for my daughters in every way they needed me that I saw the truth. It wasn’t because my mother didn’t trust me or love me that she worried about me so. It was because she never wanted me to be hurt. She never wanted me to fall down. She never wanted me to know the pain she felt, out there, in the world.
My mother wanted to keep me safe. Always. And in her fear she could not hold me forever in her arms, in her fear she would not be able to stop the inevitability of my falls, she knew she had to let me go so that I could fly free.
And she did.
Motherhood is an act of courage. Of faith. Of letting go when all you want to do is hold on as tightly as you can to the one you love.
I had no intention of becoming a mother. In fact, according to the doctors, after two ruptured ectopic pregnancies, it wasn’t supposed to be physically possible.
And then, the miracle of Alexis arrived and eighteen months later, Liseanne followed along, a laughing, squirming bundle of joy and life became a never-ending story of Love unfolding with every breath they took and every moment of their lives that took my breath away.
I am grateful to my mother. She taught me well to love and let go. To be and let become.
My mother is almost 90 now. Frail. Delicate. A tiny sparrow of a woman, my mother still hears larks singing. She still sees the beauty of a red sunset and she still knows the gifts of love. Her life has not been easy. She has lost her husband and her only son, been distanced from two of her granddaughters through the grief that followed. My mother sits quietly now. She no longer fights back. She no longer cries out for me to ‘be careful’, ‘slow down’. She no longer cautions me to be like the others, to stop doing it my way, to quit making waves.
And now, despite our differences, despite the distance between our perspectives, my mother and I share the same heart. It is kind and caring, soft and gentle. My heart is founded in my mother’s love, and I am grateful.
For in her heart I have learned to give and receive. In her ways, I have embraced the joy of being kind and caring, soft and gentle. In her love, I have discovered what it means to be a mother.
A mother loves the tiny seed within her womb, nurturing the possibility of life with all her being. A mother gives birth to a child’s dreams and schemes, breathing as her child breathes, crying as her child cries, falling as her child falls. A mother watches over her child, holding on with all her heart to their dreams of flight, fearing with all her being the inevitability of their falling, and letting go of holding on in the certainty of their flying free.
In the constant presence of my mother’s love, I have learned to fly free, learned to soar high knowing, no matter where I go, my mother’s heart will always be the tie that binds me back into the circle of love that connects us.
Mothers are the difference in a world of Love.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Without our mothers, the Circle Game would never unfold. Enjoy one of my favourite songs Joni Mitchell’s Circle Game.