Posted by: susanideus | May 9, 2010

Mother’s Day, For My Daughters

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new.  ~Rajneesh

Today I celebrate Mother’s Day with a full and happy heart. Thank you, Becca and Jo!

The real meaning of Mother’s Day for me, what brought it to life for me, is simple yet so spectacularly precious–my two wonderful daughters, Rebecca Suzanne and Johanna LaNell. The births of these two opened up in my life so many wonderful opportunities, so many unparalleled moments of joy and wonder and such a capacity for unconditional love on both sides of our relationships.

Who knew that from one tiny fertile egg with my body could grow a baby, a child, a woman, a mentor and a best friend? And to have it happen twice? I am beyond blessed. I had never known there was joy in being a mother. They taught me that. If I never said anything else on the subject, I would want them to know that.

I was afraid to be a mother, afraid I wouldn’t be able to love and care for and nurture a tiny helpless creature. I didn’t know how–and they don’t come with instruction manuals. I’ve made that suggestion to God, by the way.

Again, they taught me. If I listened with my heart, I knew what to do. And, they have a wonderful dad, who was there to help, my wise husband Harold. Over the years, he has been their playmate, mechanic, story-teller and a rock of support. I could not have done it without him. Oh yes, one of his biggest roles–referee during the teen years. He could defuse most mom/daughter conflagrations before they blazed out of control, and bless him, I know he got his helping hand burned more than once.

There were tough time, both financially and emotionally. We seemed to weather both. I worried that a time of depression and hot temper would scar our relationships forever, but amazing grace, we came out OK. There were times early on when I was a demanding perfectionist. I was so stuffy, I didn’t even like me, and I was hard on them. Thankfully, they had enough spunk to weather that too. I guess I wanted to be a perfect mom because my mom left me with issues, and I didn’t want to do that to them. Finally, I learned as in the words of author Jill Churchill:

♥ There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. ♥

The girls have taught me to be flexible, to think outside the box, to try new things. (Wasn’t I supposed to be teaching them?) How many times have I tried a new book, a new restaurant, a new movie because one of them said “C’mon Mom, you might like it!” We share a deep love of books and words. So many times, talking about a movie or a book has bridged the gap to get us over an awkward place or past some hurt feelings or to a difficult but necessary discussion.

And now that they have grown in wonderfully wise beautiful young women, the blessings continue. We each have friends of our own, of course, but just the three of us together for any occasion, planned or spontaneous, is always something special. I love it that the two girls are so close to one another–and I love that I’m included on their list of special friends.

Does the fact that they are grown now mean less worry? Yes and no. They are fiercely independent and I try to respect that; I tried to raised them to be so. I pray that I don’t interfere or give un-asked-for advice. They have their lives to lead, their choices to make, their triumphs and their disappointments. I try to fuss over them less, but I pray for them daily still and that won’t change.  I want them to always know I’m available if they need me, and that my love for them is endless and unconditional. But, no matter what, your children are your children are your children…no one else holds that place in your life or in your heart. So do I still worry? Of course I do! I find myself agreeing emphatically with Toni Morrison:

Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?  What’s that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don’t mean a thing.  ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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