Mother: It’s Complicated


Happy Mother’s Day! Was yours good?  We had a good time here at my house.  The Dynamic Duo was way into it and planned every detail.  I was awakened this morning to the smell of bacon and presented with a pink balloon that Thing 2 re-gifted from a birthday party yesterday.   Then came my presents, that I actually had to go find while the girls said “hotter” or “colder” to help guide me in the right direction.  Did I mention that this was around 8:00 this morning and I’m not a morning person?  It was a struggle.


I was presented with an array of candles because I love candles and mostly because the other night, when the electricity went out, Thing 1 felt like I could have been better prepared with more candles.  As if the five that I had burning were not enough.

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I was also given a selection of their favorite candies, which they promptly ate.

However, my favorite gifts were by far the book that Thing 1 wrote for me telling me why I’m the perfect mom for her (“Because she loves me and makes the best macaroni and cheese, EVER!”) and the cookbook, (yes, I said COOK BOOK!) that Thing 2 and her class made for their moms.  Each child had a recipe to illustrate – Thing 2’s is a salmon dish – and it is so precious.  She is very, very proud of her handy work and so am I. I love it!  Personally, I would have liked more words from the hubby about what a great wife and mother I am, how the last ten years have been the best ten years of his life, and how grateful he is that we have two beautiful children together, blah, blah, blah…but…whatevs.

Admittedly, I have really struggled this year with Mother’s Day.  These past ten months is the longest period of time that I have gone without seeing or talking to my mother in my life.  She doesn’t talk on the phone so I can’t call her and I really, really miss her.  Or, at least I miss the memory of her.  After all, she hasn’t  known who I am for at least the past 4 years.  Obviously, I haven’t had a real conversation with her for years, but I miss the role that she played in my life.

“Mother”.  It’s such an all-encompassing word.  Protector, provider, personal chef, cleaning lady, doctor, chauffeur, confidant, lawyer, disciplinarian, teacher…I could go on and on and on but, really, the word itself denotes a figure-head.  Think about it, the word “Father” doesn’t carry nearly the weight that “Mother” does.  Unfortunately, in today’s society, it is not uncommon for a child to grow up without a father, but, everyone has a mother.  Mother’s Day is big business but, Father’s Day pales in comparison.  It’s sad when a child has an absent father, but it’s down right tragic when the mother is missing from their life.

“Mother” is iconic.  For years after your mother is gone, there are stories that will live on and define her legacy.  When I think of my mom, one of the first things that comes to mind is Imelda Marcos, former first lady of the Philippines, because of her famous and fabulous shoe collection. Imelda’s and Mom’s.  In fact, we, her children, used to teasingly, but accurately call her Imelda and if you said this to anyone who knew her in her heyday, they would immediately agree with you.   I probably should tell you that she, my mom, also had a long and successful career with the United States Postal Service (I could say any town in the State of Illinois and she knew the zip code  – amazing!) and she was a gifted musician and singer.  Somehow, I just know that the stories that my kids will tell about me will have nothing to do with my talents, but will be about some of my more neurotic, obsessive-compulsive tendencies like checking the stove three times at night before I can get in the bed.  I can’t believe that I just told you that.  Or, how I absolutely lose my mind when someone sits on my bed in their street clothes.  It’s me and I’ve accepted it.  Don’t judge me.

“Mother” is complicated.  The expectation of almost near perfection from your children, from your spouse, from your kid’s teachers, from the nosy neighbor down the street and from yourself (just to name a few) is subjective and unattainable. I know this yet, on pretty much a daily basis I am saddened by all of the ways that I feel like I fall short.    Likewise, it is those expectations of our own mothers and often the disappointments that we feel that we  have suffered, that hinder us from truly appreciating the gifts, or the “good stuff”, that our mother’s have given to us, big and small.  Often we forget, if we ever really knew in the first place, that our mothers, just like many of us, fulfilled their duties and gave of themselves even when their own emotional needs were not being met.  Over the years I have come to realize that no mother anywhere, including my own, ever sets out to screw their kid up.  They may not give much thought to what’s important to them as a parent or what style or approach is best but, their intent at birth is never to be the worst mother that they can possibly be.  Once I understood this, it allowed me to be more forgiving of not just my own mother, but of myself.  Always striving to be better but, accepting my own limitations.

I love being a mother, truly, I do.  It is my favorite part of me.  However, I do recognize that not every mother feels the same way.  I also recognize that there are those who are longing to be a mother but, it hasn’t worked out for whatever reason.  Then there are those who never want children and then those who are somewhere in the middle of all of this and trying to figure it all out.  And those of us just missing our own mom’s.  I can respect all of the differences.  It is complicated and that’s why Mother’s Day can stir up so many different emotions.  So, come in close so I can give you a BIG HUG!  I’m silly…I know.  I sincerely hope that no matter where you are or who you are with or your motherhood status, you had a wonderful day with people you love.

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