Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mother's Day

Why is it that Hallmark decides who and how to celebrate all these holidays that aren't always happy? It's hard to blog about Mother's Day today, as my ninety-one year old mother lays dying. Mothers have "issues" just like everyone else. They are people and they have good days and bad days at their twenty-four hour, seven day a week job. No retirement age; you get to mother until your last breath. Sometimes the challenge is the child. They certainly do run us ragged with all those stages that are developmental for them and the cause of many a sleepless night for us, the mother. What to do? Did I do it? When will it be over? Is it going to be okay?

Sometimes it's not even about mothering, the cause of our worries. The "other" job, money, relationship issues, loneliness, lack of support. Remember, we're just people. Sometimes those children are the heaviest burden that tips the scale of all the other burdens we carry.

But I don't know of any mother who doesn't do the best she can. The alcoholic, the addict, the saint or the soccer mom; she IS doing the best she can. Some of us have bigger problems and few coping skills, less common sense or a degree in engineering instead of child psychology. Some of us are working mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually everyday, just to do the best we can.

But isn't it ironically for sure that no matter what we do and how we do it, sometimes it's not going to be the right answer, the right choice for that child, on that given day, even when we do our best? Conflict is inherent in raising kids. Not just with each other but with our emotions and decisions too. Doing the best we can doesn't mean we are sure every decision is the right one. Ever.

Doing the best we can means that we would lay down in front of that train, if it would help make a difference. It means dragging out of bed at three to comfort a teething baby or a frightened four year old. It means respecting our children enough to trust them and loving them enough to say "no, not now, not yet ". It also means taking care of ourselves so that we have the resources and the energy to try to do the best we can. It means being a proper model for our daughters and our sons. It means a selflessness that requires self fullness.

I don't have a clue about what you all intend for your Mother's Day this Sunday. Or even if it's your choice. Sometimes those brunches and bottles of sweet perfume, like always, are more about the giver than the receiver. Sometimes it's about remembering a grandmother, gone for decades or a mother ready to go. Sometimes it's about wishing it were different and knowing that although it won't make a difference, we truly did the best we could do.