I was at my youngest daughter’s soccer game yesterday, surrounded by my fellow Mum friends, all discussing our plans (or lack thereof) for Mother’s Day when I decided to ask the following question.
“If you knew what Motherhood was going to be like, would you have become a Mother?”
Now if you are reading this and gasping, you can relax. Everyone answered in the affirmative but not before taking a deep breath. A deep, cleansing, thoughtful breath. Without going in to further detail because we were, after all, there to watch our daughters play soccer, it was understood that we all took deep breaths because this gift, this responsibility, this job is HARD.
Today, my social media has been filled with gorgeous tributes to beautiful Mums and appreciative families. And I have loved seeing all of the expressions of love and gratitude. My children showered me with handmade cards while I double fisted soy lattes and mimosas poured by my husband amidst the temporary bliss. Mother’s Day is a wonderful day. The cynics would say that it is just a hallmark day and we shouldn’t need to be told when to celebrate what. Well maybe we shouldn’t but life is crazy and hectic and if someone, somewhere decided that this day in May would be a day where children would try really hard not to fight with their siblings and husbands would DO ALL THE THINGS WE WANT THEM TO DO for just one day well then, I am all for it. Contrived or not.
And I also recognize that many spend this day and so many more, feeling their heart strings pulled in every direction for love that hasn’t happened yet or love that happened and then was lost. This is my second Mother’s Day without mine to ring, without hearing her voice on the end of the phone while she put up with hearing me go on and on about what an incredible Mum she was and how lucky I was to call her mine.
Although, never one to paint a dishonest picture, you should know that she also spent a great deal of my childhood telling me that she was “SO GLAD SHE JUST HAD JUST ONE DAUGHTER” because compared to my brothers, I was mouthy and social and required a lot more of everything she had to give. And what she had to give, being a single Mother of three kids with a full time job and no time to herself was not a lot. Or so I thought.
Then I became a Mum and our relationship changed. She and I now had more in common than we ever had before, a shared understanding. We had never been part of the same ‘club’ until now. Stories flowed more freely about my childhood, as if I could now be trusted with them because I spoke the same language. I called her with every update on my children and to ask her advice on both the large issues and the small ones. She was the strictest of Mother’s and yet, sometimes critiqued me for the same standards. I remember being in her kitchen a couple of years ago and she had given my kids some chocolate before they rushed out to play soccer in her back yard. When we went to leave a short while later, she offered ice cream. I politely declined on my children’s behalf to which she replied, looking past me to her grandchildren’s hopeful faces, “one scoop or two.”
Four days before she took her last breath, as I was tucking her in at night and waiting for her to fall asleep, she looked at me and said “I don’t deserve a daughter like you.” In that horrible room that was draining me of hope as it was draining her of life, she gave me the only thing left that she could, her approval.
Mother’s Day will forever be full of happiness, gratitude and sadness, as I am sure it is for most people out there. But I will look forward to it every year, because amongst the laughter and the many tears, there is momentary bliss.