Somehow, in all of the hustle and hurry of living, it becomes easy to forget those that shaped us. If any were to etch their unique impression in our hearts, it would be the mothers we have known. Sometimes, even those that are not our mothers affect our lives in ways we do not understand. This is a collection of three short stories about the mothers that have affected my life.
My great grandmother.
In the 1800’s, on some share cropping farm, a woman was born. She must have had a hard life. I never met her, but she shaped everything about me. Whether they are issues I have had to work to correct, or loving memories I treasure, this woman created a spark that lasted generations.
From the stories I am told, I would assume she was a bitter woman. She was down right mean. When my grandfather (her son), was caught sneaking into the cupboard to taste the family’s supply of brown sugar, she made him eat all they had in whatever type of house in which they lived. And her meanness, passed down to my grandfather, became meanness in my mother’s family. But, she was the mother of twelve boys, all alcoholics minus my grandfather and one brother. He broke what he could of the curse of abuse, but some still remained. My great grandmother, carried on a sour tradition of mean spirited abuse.
Though she has been gone from sight for nearly four years, she remains with me. She dealt with many things as a child, some good and some bad. What she brought from her raising worked itself out in my immediate family as I grew. She was a peacemaker, a cheerleader for all that was good in souls, and a dear friend to me.
My mother had her issues to work out, but she did this in overly generous ways. She spent money she did not have, to give others what she thought they needed. She battled depression and lived in fear of her father for many years of my childhood. What was beautiful about how she did this, was her being able not to pass that fear to my sister and me. She shared some of her troubles, but never with a hardened heart.
What can I say about Michelle? She is the mother to three of my children. None of my children were born to me or bear my last name. I love them still. What is most amazing about Michelle, is that she trusts me enough, to be a part of her children’s lives. With wild abandon and an unknowing about how any of it will work out, we share a love for three humans that unfolds each day.
Her stories about her father will be for her to tell, but she would not mind me saying this. He was not a nice guy in the early days. After her mother and he divorced, he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. When I met Michelle, I was able to meet her father, because after all that had happened, she was going to his house to cut his hair. Whatever issues there were between them, she cut his hair, and helped him when she could.
What do I know of motherhood on this day for mothers? So very little. What I do know, is that the mothers we have and love, even the ones we wish would change, were people before we showed up. They had struggles and joys, hopes and fears, and even some fun and favorite foods. We changed all of that for them. Some responded with love and some responded with fear, and we were shaped by it all.
There is an exercise described by Louise Hay, which allows us to forgive those in our past. Especially our mothers. I do this often with those that I disagree with, and even those I love. It is an easy practice and quite fun at times.
Whether she is now living, or deceased, imagine your mother as a child. Imagine her hopes and fears, and all that is before her, and give her a hug. As an adult, love on the child she once was, and express from your heart, that you love the child she was. You may not be able to easily forget the damages done, or the missing of your mother, but you will be able to visit her in thought, and love on her. For some reason, this helps me.
And, about the missing of mothers, especially on this day, may I say this simply. You may very well not be able to see your mother on this day in her physical form. She sees you. You may not be able to speak into her ears all of your joys and troubles, but she knows already. Your mother and you came to this earth to play, imagine, dream, and learn lessons that can only be taught in these forms. After her lessons were over, she passed the class, and returned to whatever heaven might be.
And on heavenly things? If anything were ever permeated by the divine, it is heaven. There is so much literature on the existence of heaven now, here, or wherever there is God. My suspicion is, that while my mother was living, I was limited as to how I could communicate with her. Now I suspect that there is a deeper relationship and a better way for her to be a cheerleader for me. There is no spaced where God, and my mother with God, are not.
I am not asking you to believe anything about heaven or the divine, but if you miss your mother, consider the possibility that she may be closer than you think. And, if missing your mother makes you cry, as it does for me at times, remember the good times and allow yourself the chance to grieve. Sometimes it helps to trace those unique impressions that were etched into our hearts.
For those that are mothers, Happy Mothers Day. For those that are separated from mothers, Happy Mothers Day. And for those that will spend a little extra time with their mother today, Happy Mothers Day.
We are all mothers, as we give birth to kindness, compassion, and gratitude each day. Stay strong and stay observant. There is only love.