10 May, 2007

For Mother's Day

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
unconditional love...

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!


Beth said...

Happy Mother's Day to you!

When I was growing up, I remember at times, thinking my mom was just being downright mean and not understanding me. She always told me that when I got older I would understand and be thankful. That statement always made be so mad. I never thought it could be true. But now that I'm all grown up, I realize that my mom was right about all the things that I thought she was so wrong about. Funny how time changes things.

Have the T-Shirt said...

Mother's Day is a tough holiday for me. All the cards say all these glowing things about MOM, and my mom, well, they just don't apply to her.

I have to grope the recesses of my mind to dig out the good things, and there were good things. But I'm always saddened that the good was so greatly overshadowed in so many ways.

My kids? I sure hope I did better by them.

ruby said...

Happy Mother's Day! That was a really great post, I hope in 10/20/30 etc years your daughter does indeed recognize the gifts you've given her!

JustRun said...

How beautiful. I think starting with those intentions is more important than people think.
Hope you have a very happy Mother's Day. :)

cathouse teri said...

As t-shirt says, it is sometimes hard to find a card or even want to give a card when things weren't all that great. I have a great mother, but recently had to purchase a card for someone who was not go great. I finally settled on a plain card with nothing inside and then put in a funny from something we'd laughed about in the past. Was the best I could do.

And these holidays are hard for those who had no mother, or had an awful experience with theirs. We should brainstorm and come up with something to help them along.

brookem said...

happy mother's day! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Mother's Day... I think it's awesome how you wanted to instill all of that in your daughter.