Mother’s Day is a bittersweet celebration of motherhood for me. It is a celebration of the life I brought into this world, and a reminder of the life that was taken from it. When we fall under the spell of motherhood, we are so elated by the idea of this life we are going to bring into the world – this external representation of ourselves. We do not think about how fragile life truly is, how quickly it can be taken from us. Instead, we dream about it – ‘Will he have my smile? My husband’s laugh? Will she be smart and clever, kind and caring?’
We build space for this creation in our own lives. We transform a room in a house, complete with bassinet, rocking/feeding chair, baby monitor, and nightlight, and softly colored walls and linens. We create time that right now is filled with naps and morning sickness but will soon be filled with diapers and middle of the night feedings, and a little later, tying shoes and kissing skinned knees. We create space in our hearts for this little person that is going to fill every square inch and then he will grow and change and force us to keep making the space bigger for him or her.
Children teach us how to love unconditionally, an almost foreign concept in our society. This very unique way of loving another person is easier between parent and child because they are an extension of us. We learn to care for someone else and put his or her needs ahead of our own. They teach us patience. They keep us aware, awake and responsible. They challenge us and push us to our limits and teach us that we need to learn to set boundaries. Finally, they teach us how to love fiercely and let go, the hard lesson of non-attachment, though most of us parents remain completely attached for a lifetime to these mini-me people. No matter how old they are, they are our babies.
Logically and chronologically, we start out as their caregivers, teachers and advisors, but in time, the tables turn and it is we who rely on them for guidance and care. Having children results in a thorough transformation of the mind and heart and in most cases, the sacrifices made cannot fully be appreciated until one has a child of their own.
My children taught me how to love with every bit of my heart and then how to surrender control. My son, by leaving the planet at age 20, challenged my faith and my spirit. His untimely and tragic departure forced me to work hard to understand life and death at a higher level. I had to learn how to see him and his sister as separate souls on their own journeys, rather than my creations or my possessions. My daughter continues to teach me to be courageous and have faith in life. To trust the process. She does not live under a cloud of fear, but seizes the opportunity to live her life to the fullest. She suffered deeply at the age of 18 when she lost her 20 year old brother and now, 10 years later, she lives her life in a way that honors him.
I am so grateful for both of my children – grateful for the lessons of how precious life is and that even in our darkest moments, we CAN choose to survive.
Mothers, hold your babies tight and be grateful for THIS moment. Soak it in, drink it up, pull it in to every cell of your body, memorize it as an imprint on your heart. Children, love your parents and forgive them as soon as possible. Learn from their mistakes and hold their misgivings with compassion. If you can find forgiveness and compassion in your heart for them, you will live and die without regret.