Mother was someone I never knew. It was not that I did not know my mother, but that she was never interested in fitting the mold. Mother, for me, was instead an ideal, a shadow of a figure that I held in my head all of these years. When I met someone who mothered me in some way, I molded my perceptions of what a mother should be after her. Time and time again, I would find others who helped me and I would hold images of them in my mind. I would take the parts I cherished and redefine what a mother was. It was not to say that the whole of each person was not wonderful or beautiful… it was instead that I was reaching out for a definition, an understanding of who and what a mother was.
I, like most girls, grew up hoping that someday I would be a mother without really thinking about the task. I grew up assuming that I, just like everyone else, would someday have a child of my own. I never really thought about the consequences or the hard work involved and I guess that is a good thing.
I started out knowing nothing, and for nine months I carried around one of the four greatest blessings I have ever known. Over that time, I have read countless books, I have cried, I have rejoiced, I have made mistakes, I have been amazed at my abilities, and my – I have grown. Truthfully, my children have taught me how to be a better mother. I have learned, through them, their various needs, strengths, and weaknesses. I have learned to live with them and value our time together. At the same time, I hopefully have taught them the same. There is no easy roadmap to follow and along the way I have definitely make mistakes. However, I have always tried to allow my children to see that I am human. I don’t want to hide my errors or lack of foresight. I don’t want to hide behind that “I am an adult and you are just a child” stance that I have known firsthand. I don’t think they learn anything from that… and as adults, when they make mistakes, will that be their common outcry?
Instead, I want my children to know who I am. I want them to know that while I do make mistakes, that I always strive to be my best and do my best. We all fall short of that goal, sometimes too often – but to share that journey with them is a gift. I feel they know me better, and perhaps they realize we are not that very different from one another. There is no disconnect between parent and child and that is something (at least as a mother) that I cherish. This does not mean there are no consequences if they refuse to clean up their messes or that we are such buddies that I am still not the parent, but instead it just means that we understand one another as two uniquely different human beings. Not only do I want respect from them, but I also give it.
I could not say that my path is the right one for anyone except me. I just find myself incredibly blessed for the many people who came into my life at an early age and taught me how to nurture the heart of a child, how to cherish who they are as an individual, and how to teach them that parenting is not only about punishment for offences, but that it is about teaching that all of our actions have consequences. There is a huge difference. Not only have people from my past helped mold who I am today, but my children have made a huge impact.
In the beginning of parenthood, I wasn’t as open minded. I tend to believe we all (at least first) fall into what we know. I tried the same methods used on me as a child and I quickly realized that they were not an answer to any problem that we might come across. It may be a way of dealing with a situation, but the outcome was what I was concerned with. What were my actions teaching my child? What would they walk away with from this? Slowly, I evolved. I started to listen to myself more, I tried to remember my own struggles growing up, the experience of not having a voice, the sadness of feeling misunderstood. It all helped to mold who I am – not only with my children, but with others as well.
I have experienced such growth while being a mother, I am completely amazed at the process. Here I am, intending to help mold someone else’s life and all the while I am helping them grow, they are helping me grow as well. Truthfully, motherhood is a blessing that should not be overlooked (although as a job… it often is). I truly do believe that people who make an impact in our lives should ever lose the chance to hear it. I have told them how grateful I am for being in their lives. Even today, they don’t understand but I do believe, when they become parents, perhaps they will realize the truth of my words.
I know that today is Mother’s Day… but for me, the beauty of this day would not be properly celebrated if I did not chose to celebrate the reason I am the woman I am. I just hope that all mothers out there realize just how fortunate they are. Motherhood is a game changer.
I want to thank my children for every bit of love and generosity they have shown me. Even when times were tough, we have always worked together as a team. I want to celebrate all of the smiles and tears and I want to celebrate how far we have come. Most importantly, I want to say to them, “I love you more than you could ever imagine.” I could not be the woman I am today, the mother I am today… without you holding my hand as I held yours.
© Sumyanna 2017