What is the best gift your mother gave you?
Before we are parents, we have great ideas as to the kind of environment we are going to provide for our kids. We have ideas as to what we want for them, the lessons we want them to learn, and the childhood we want them to experience. We are, after all, great parents. We read the books, educated ourselves, and/or learn from those around us. (I would "never" do that. or That is a great idea!)
Before I was a parent, I had great ideas. I wanted to ensure that my daughter learned a few things:
the joy of learning
do what is '"right"
Travel, travel, travel
Find your passion and a way to make it your profession (I wish I could do this one)
Accept others and appreciate them for themselves
Ah, quite the list.
For most of these, being a role model is the best lesson one can give. For others, well, the "peer group" comes into play. Sometimes I remind myself that she has a fabulous nature and great parents (for the most part), she will learn and survive and be a fabulous adult.
Regardless of our ambitions and the goals we set; the books we have read; the models we have chosen - we make mistakes. I mean, we are, after all, humans. We do our best and hope that, despite our mistakes, our children will turn out to be well adjusted adults.
After my daughter was born I quickly realized that from that moment forward parenting was a process of letting go. For nine months, I was able to keep my daughter safe and secure. I will spend the next two decades learning to let her be her own person; allowing her to make mistakes; watching her learn from those mistakes; and providing her with a home in which she is always accepted; loved; and welcome to be herself.
Everyday in my house is mother's day. It is all about hugs and kisses and an endless debate as to whether the diva loves me more than I love her (which, as we all know, is just not possible!).
I give her all that I can, to include allowing her to see that even mom's need to be people and that we do not know "everything" and that we do actually make mistakes and apologize when we have done something wrong.
To answer my own question, my mother gave me independence.
I don't mean in nature as she tells it, I was never a dependent child. I hated being held, hugged etc. I wanted to go. She gave me independence from social expectations. She was the first woman in her family to have a profession. She broke with her family's desires for her and married for love. She taught me that women have a voice and that they need to be able to take responsibility for their financial well being. I might have taken these gifts a bit too seriously, but they are great gifts.
I am not sure how the diva will answer this question in 10 or 20 or even 30 years. I hope that she can one day recognize some of the gifts that I have offered.
For me, she is the best gift a woman could receive, and she has been since the day I found out she was there. When I am being a good mom and laying down the law, she lets me know that I am the "meanest" but she loves me. When I am being a human and have made a mistake, she forgives me and sees that it is okay to make mistakes. And all the time she is reminding me what it means to give and receive love.
Here's to moms and the fabulous kids that gave us the title.
Happy Mother's Day!