What is a Mother? She is more than just the woman who takes care of you, giving the whole of her being to ensure your development and survival. She is the person who gave you the gift of who you are. She taught you how to love, she taught you how to forgive, she taught you how to work hard and to finish the job. She taught you when to say “I’m sorry,” when to say please and thank you, how to know when you are in the wrong and how to admit it.
Moms also teach us how to act. They teach right from wrong and how to know the difference. They teach how to act in public places, how to behave, and the consequences for not doing so. One of my favorite stories about my Mom took place when I was much younger. We were in the grocery store and I was throwing a tantrum. I was trapped in the shopping basket seat and couldn’t throw myself on the ground to kick and flail, but I was making a go of it with my lungs. My Mom, instead of threatening me, or yelling and screaming along with me, simply leaned down and whispered in my ear: “Everyone is looking at you.” Instantly, I was better. I sat up straight and put on my best smile, beaming for my audience. My tantrum was done.
Moms have to be innovative. While there are classes that are supposed to teach the ins and outs of motherhood, it is all theory; putting the lessons into practice is something entirely different. Every child is different, we all come out with varied predispositions, prepared to approach the world in myriad ways. Our environments are different, the people in them affect us all in different ways. Moms have to negotiate these treacherous waters without a map, always doing their best to steer us to safety.
Many times Moms are both the calm in the storm and the storm itself. They have the power to break us down when we need it and to put us back together - better and stronger - afterwards. They have the power to teach us lessons or let us learn them on our own. They are there to comfort us when our hearts are broken for the first time - inevitably assuring us of the plethora of fish found in the sea. They hold our hand when we feel unsafe, then teach us how to overcome our fears.
Amazingly, the relationship goes the other way as well. Mothers learn from us. They learn more about themselves as we each get older. A new mother sees the world in a new light while holding her newborn, her priorities frequently shifting as she bares witness to the product of nine months of hard work. As we grow older, we educate our Moms on who they are, on the meaning of life, on the reasons for living. We teach them many of the same things they teach us. We are able to offer them the same support and dedication they offered us for so much of our lives in return for their tremendous efforts.
Cherish your Mom, not just today, but everyday you can. She is a rare commodity, one whose value is timeless. If there are wounds in your relationship, heal them, if there is a void between the two of you, bridge it. She is worth the effort. You are worth the effort.
I think the link between mother and child is summed up perfectly in the children’s book “Love you Forever,” by Robert Munsch. I encourage you to explore this short book and to share it with your Mom or with your kids. For me, it explains everything about the relationship my Mom and I share. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes, even when just thinking about its message.