(I started posing this on Mother’s Day ten years ago, and I try to remember to re-post it every year.)
Some women take to mothering naturally. I had to work at it. And so I wasn’t the best mother in the world. I would have worked outside the home whether I had become a single mom or not. And because I did, mine were latchkey kids, with my daughter, beginning at age 12, taking care of her younger brother, age 5, after school. I left them some evenings to go out on dates. Oh, I did cook them healthy meals, and even cookies sometimes. I made their Halloween costumes and went to all parent events at their schools. My daughter took ballet lessons, belonged to 4H (but I got kicked out as Assistant Leader because I wouldn’t salute the flag during the Vietnam War). I made my son a Dr. Who scarf and took him to Dr. Who fan events. I bought him lots of comic books, invited friends over to play, and taught him how to throw a ball.
But most of all, I think/hope I did for them what my mother was never able to do for me, — give them the freedom and encouragement to become who they wanted to be — to explore, make mistakes, and search for their bliss. I think/hope that I always let them know that, as far as I was concerned, I loved them just the way they were/are.
Not having had that affirmation from my mother still affects my relationship with her. I hope that my doing that right for them neutralizes all the wrong things I did as they were growing up.
So, you two (now adult) kids, here’s to you both. You keep me thinking, you keep me informed, you keep me honest, and, in many ways, you keep me vital. I’m so glad that I’m your mother.
So, in memory of those not-always-good ol’ days that you two somehow managed to survive with style, here you are, playing “air guitar and drums” — enjoying each other’s company sometime in the late 70s and bringing so much delight into my life.
As long as kids know that you are there for them in times of crisis it’s not necessary to be one of those “Helicopter Moms”, who hover over their children micro managing everything they do.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Thanks, Bruce. Yes, I know that, I also know that my son might be having a more manageable life these days had I recognized, early on, that he had some sensory integration and other issues that would get in his way. But, it is what it is.
Elaine…..You are an exceptional thinker and communicator and, most of all, a mother who can love and nurture and provide space when necessary while still being exceptionally close all of the time. Thanks for sharing Mother’s Day with all of us.
Sounds like you were a terrific mother! We mothers are so hard on ourselves. I remember a lot of the mistakes I made, and am constantly reminding myself about the good I did!