“Just you wait until you have kids of your own,” my mom would sputter whenever I was particularly frustrating as a child. “Whaaaateveeeeer,” I would respond to the infraction in an especially dramatic flair reserved only for her. Obviously, these were transgressions that couldn’t possibly be fair such as staying out until 4 am, short shorts or cleaning up after myself. Yeah, my mother actually made me clean up after myself as a citizen of our household. I have been in therapy ever since.
All kidding aside, I usually brushed off the remark because I knew better. At a tender young age, I was certain I had the parenting thing pretty much figured out. Of course, I didn’t become a parent until much later in life, but how hard could it be?
Then I became a stepmother and mother.
With a puff of smoke, a tiny version of my mother appeared on my shoulder, rubbing her hands together with a smirk. In all honesty I think I even heard her laughing maniacally, a la Vincent Price. This simple statement hit me like a ton of bricks because now I knew why she said it; I knew what she meant once I had kids of my own! And man, that slice of humble pie was as big as my inflated head.
If you know my mom, you know that she is a selfless, devoted and deeply caring individual. She is bright and compassionate. She has always put the needs of her children over her own. She has worked tirelessly so that we could have a good life. She ALWAYS has a smile on her face when she sees someone, especially her children or grandchildren. She is my biggest supporter and deepest worrier. She is my sounding board, no matter what she’s doing at the time. (Although she hasn’t quite mastered the whole cell phone etiquette thing. Just between us Mom, you don’t have to answer the phone when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. It’s alright to call me back once you’re out.)
As I reflect on my mother’s attributes, I believe these core qualities are at the root of most mothers out there. Whether these traits are hard-wired into our DNA, or learned behaviors, I have no idea. I firmly believe that being a mother is at the same time the toughest and the most rewarding profession. All that time I had no idea how much work went into her occupation of choice. Now I fully comprehend how brilliantly she pulled it off.
I realize not everyone has a close relationship with his or her mother. That’s alright, but keep in mind everyone’s doing the best they can, including her. A little forgiveness (even if it’s within your own mind) goes a long way. Forgiveness, when developed in a thoughtful and meaningful way, will allow your subconscious mind to shift. The part of the brain associated with resolving anger is the same part that involves empathy and regulating emotions. Research shows resolving conflict and granting mercy are good for the brain and result in positive emotional states. It’s a win-win!
I’m going to try my hardest to show my mom gratitude on Mother’s Day and every day of the year. I know there’s going to come a time she’s not around and I’m not looking forward to it. Many of you don’t have the opportunity to thank your mother in person and I sincerely hurt for you. Life can be hard and this monumental loss in one’s life is no exception. Whether she’s on earth or in heaven, please know that she always loved you and continues to every day.
Like only a mother can.
Lane Waneka says...
Brilliant – so spot on and beautifully written!!
May 03, 2016
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