As a mother, I think I can say with certainty that we don’t expect gushing gifts or sweet charms. We want to be loved and appreciated beyond this one day a year. Most mother’s I know are incredibly selfless. They work tirelessly and do the things no one else wants to do. Mothers are forced to learn how to multitask and are relied upon to provide dinner, laundry, as well as emotional support. We nurse our little ones back to health. We help our kids with homework, drive our kids to extra-curricular activities, coordinate parent-teacher conferences, volunteer for field trips, and help raise money for the school. We teach our children to advocate for themselves and we step in to advocate on their behalf when something isn’t right. We teach our children how to be good contributing members of our society. Most of us do all of this while working a full-time job.
I remember when I had my first child, I thought “this is it”. “Thanks a lot, mother nature, I’ll never sleep soundly again”. It’s a mother’s instinct to be an intent listener. Even if we try to turn it off, a mother is forever changed once that small human lands in her arms. We hear everything and we know things. This is the intuitive gifts that go with becoming a mother. I remember peeling potatoes in the kitchen while my sweet two-year-old boy was taking a nap in his crib. There was a feeling that came over me that said, ‘something isn’t’ right’. I walked into his room only to find him fingerpainting with unclean things. Enough said. My point is that there is a reason why mom’s know everything. It’s hard to get anything past us. It’s this beautiful, innate gift we receive when you are born into our hearts.
Today both my 16-year-old and my 20 year old live in different States. My daughter decided to move to Colorado and live with her father. This is a consequence of divorce. It’s funny how when I share this with people that their immediate thoughts wonder if my daughter and I don’t get along. Maybe it’s where my thoughts would go if I wasn’t me. My daughter and I are solid. Maybe we are even closer as a result of our distance. I think for my daughter, her choice was more grueling then anyone knew. It was a hard process leading up to her final decision. I wanted her to pick me so badly. Once I worked through my ego’s evil voice, I decided that it is my job as her mother to support her and rise above feeling sorry for myself. Yes. My job hasn’t ended because she lives in a different State.
My 20-year-old son, on the other hand, stayed home with me until he left for college. He was ready to move on and it was my job as his mother to help with that transition. We are now transitioning in our relationship as he’s no longer a child. He is a young adult who is practicing making his own decisions. As his mother, it is my job to be here and listen when he’s going through a difficult time. If as his mother, I feel he’s being wronged, I will ask to advocate on his behalf and he now says no. “I will figure it out, mom”. This adult relationship we are forming is beautiful and new to us both. He’s in school and embracing everything that the school experience has to offer. He doesn’t need me anymore, but I still show up. I still call and text him and ask to Facetime once in a while. He reminds me that I’m spoiled because I can reach out to him any time I want unlike when I myself was in college–there were no cell phones back then.
Some people say that being a mother is a thankless job, but the truth is, it’s a thankful job. I chose to have children. I committed to this journey and I may not be with them as much as I would like, but I am beside them every step of the way (figuratively). I practice active listening skills with my children because they don’t want a controlling mother. They want to go on their journey and be supported and encouraged along the way. I suppose I’m lucky because my children will ask for suggestions when they need it. They teach me about their life and what they need. Some times they will confide in me with things kids never tell their parents. Those moments are gifts. Their laughter rings through my thoughts and I reminisce with photos of their baby years. I understand now why my elders reminded me to “enjoy them now, they group up fast”. I get it. Time moves quickly. It doesn’t feel like it during the curious 2’s or the rambunctious 3’s. You don’t realize how fast time actually moves while you’re having sleepless nights. If you’re gifted any time, you either wish for a Spa Day or a plain old nap.
Mother’s day falls on May 10th this year. My kids informed me a gift was coming in the mail today. While my heart smiles and I will be anxious for 12:30 pm to roll around each day (that’s when my mail is delivered), truly what I want is the gift of time. My only wish is to continue this journey beside them. I want them to let me into their strange world. I want to know when they are happy or excited. I want to hold their hand when there are rough patches. I want to know their friends and love interests. I want them to trust me with their heart and call me out when my energy isn’t focused.
As a mother, I think it is important to show up for our kids always. There isn’t something magical that happens once they turn 18 other than they can legally vote. Often we want them to adjust to our needs and desires, but what if it is us mothers who need to adjust for our children? Maybe they don’t notice as much right now, but my hope is that they know that their mother always has their back and that means doing the work, lovingly, honestly and consistently.