By the time this is published and ready to be read – Mother’s Day will have already come and gone for those of us who recognized it on May 13th of this 2018. However, the sentiments expressed in this piece remain true regardless of the date on the calendar!
There are certain holidays on the calendar, which for many of us, may solely be more about reflection than simply celebration. Holidays of any kind can be bittersweet for many people based upon the reminders of who is no longer here amongst us in our tangible lives, and of whom would typically be celebrated and directly acknowledged. The reasons for this void or bitter-sweetness may be indicative of death, estrangement, geographical displacement, miscarriage, infertility, children living in foster/residential care, incarceration, hospitalization, separation due to refugee status, and sadly…the realm of reasons for individual circumstances exceeds the handful of possibilities cited here.
What constitutes or defines ‘family’ – especially in modern day times, is so vastly ever-changing. As no two human beings are the same, neither are ‘mother/child’ relationships. As a mother myself, I can honestly say that every single day is truly Mother’s Day to me! I am most grateful and blessed for the two miracles in my life, who I believe through divine intervention, chose me as their mother. There is no role or relationship in my life that I take more seriously or cherish more deeply than that of being Mother to my two beautiful children.They have always been and will forever remain my ‘Why.’ Everything I do, I do for them. Every decision I make in both my personal and professional life is always with them at the forefront. Until my children were born, I had never fully grasped the depth or the breadth of unconditional love or the profound understanding of what it means to be totally and completely accountable. Being a parent is a tall-order. Being a single parent is an even taller-order. As an extremely conscientious person who takes great pride in everything I endeavour to do…the self-assessment and self-reflection that goes hand in hand with mothering is never-ending. Each evening after they are both tucked in for the night, I sit in reflection, asking myself the consistent reel of questions that churns over in my mind – “Was I enough?” “Did I do enough?” “Did I give enough?” “Did I love enough, listen enough, nurture enough…” I ask myself these questions not within the space of self-deprecation or berating myself – rather, I ponder these questions with the intent of honouring myself in always aspiring to be the best and most improved version of myself each day. As Maya Angelou once said and whom Oprah has often times quoted, “When we know better, we do better.” The priority lies within the commitment and the willingness to want to know how to be better – for wanting to be better is what healthily enriches all of our relationships. Who as a parent/mother does not wish to strive for this? As long as my children forever know and believe they are loved by me, which I know they intrinsically do, then I will know and believe I have done my utmost best in instilling this essential foundation. When children know and believe they are wholeheartedly loved, particularly by their parents – it lays the significant foundation for all else pivotal to ones sense of self. It is out of motherly love that children thrive, flourish, and take flight in their own spirits!
Outside of myself and my relationship to my own two children – my thoughts regularly wander (and not just on Mother’s Day) to the women, men, boys and girls, whose hearts are heavy – filled with longing and nostalgia for the Mums, Grandmothers, Aunts and Sister-Friends; no longer here amongst us. I think of the Mother’s who are feeling the void and loss of children either through death, estrangement or challenges faced in successfully conceiving. I think of mothers awaking in women’s shelters either with or without their children, and the emotional anguish they inevitably face.I think of the Dads and the Grandparents who are solely raising the children in the absence of mothers. I think of all those who may feel glossed over, but who are in every which way fulfilling the role and function as maternal nurturers. I often think of the Mother’s in Nigeria and in other parts of the world who are living in sheer, gut-wrenching agony; a mental hell. Wishing, hoping, and praying for reunification with their daughters and for best-case scenario outcomes, regardless of the residuals. I think of so many mothers and so many children whose lives and relationships bear zero resemblance to the ‘Hallmark Card’ commercials. Not every mother nor child (adult child included) is in a position to exchange flowers, cards, or time together over a shared meal. For many, it is merely quiet introspective thoughts and moments shared alone remembering once-upon-a-time or envisioning what it might have been or could have been. My own personal experiences coupled with twenty-five years spent working in crisis management within social/human services, has taught me what never to take for granted and what never to presume as far as thinking that the grass is always greener.
For anyone who has ever fulfilled a motherly role – who has stepped up and stepped in; I celebrate you! I thank you! Please know your love, kindness, contributions, nurturance, patience, compassion, and wisdom does not go unrecognized or unappreciated. You are valued and honoured more than you could ever possibly know! Thank you for your presence, your comforting hands, your outstretched arms, and for your loving hearts and souls. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Originally published at livingfearlesslywithlisa.com