A Mother for All Seasons
Mother’s Day is a holiday that brings the opportunity to reflect on the continuum that gives life to the word mother.
I have a mother. I am a mother. Three of my daughter’s are mothers. I am a grandmother. I could easily become a great-grandmother in the next few years.
The term mother isn’t static. Different seasons come and go. The initial mothering job is all encompassing. Our babies grow, nestled underneath our hearts, then wrapped in our arms, then holding our hands, then venturing out on their own. They grow up, grow away, grow in confidence, and grow in maturity. They grow into their own lives.
They make their own decisions, create their own dreams, desires, and seeming disasters, and the cord that exists between us stretches and flexes. It sometimes disappears, only to reappear and repair, as life twists and turns in ever-increasing configurations.
As my daughters reached adulthood, to help me learn to let go, I took on the mental picture of life as a stage and each of us are the star performers in our life story. What works best is to remember that in our adult children’s lives, we only get a walk-on part. We’re not supposed to take center stage and sing: “I’ve Got to Be Me.” Instead, we need to learn to let them go, get out of the way, and let them create their own unique show. As you know, that is easier said than done.
I remember a specific time period when I was making myself miserable whenever any of my daughter’s faced obstacles in their lives. If they were suffering, I suffered. I desperately wanted to figure out how to fix anything that wasn’t working for them.
It was a painful and unproductive position to take because the issues weren’t mine to fix. The burden of unrealistic expectations that I carried didn’t do them any good, created a strain in my relationship with them, and kept me in a state of anxiety and worry.
I finally decided to lower my expectations on what constitutes being a good mother. I figured that if they were still standing erect and breathing, then I would back off and trust that they would ask for my help if they needed it.
My four daughters are making their way beautifully. As I continue to let go, they are becoming my teachers. I am delighted with who they are and how they take responsibility for creating their lives. I am invited to share in their creations rather than thinking that I am supposed to drive or control anything but my own life.
The lessons of letting go continue. This time they are from my current relationship with my mother. She is 90 years old and is suffering. It isn’t physical pain, but the mental anguish of holding on to the idea of how things should be, while resisting any possible comfort from the environment that surrounds her.
She needs skilled nursing now. When she is lucid, she shares that things are not at all how she thought they would be. She is the mother of 11 children, 26 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She wants her children around her and wonders where her babies are. The fact that we are all grown adults is incomprehensible. There is nothing we can do to lighten her burden. The walls of disappointment are too thick and her confusion continues to make peace of mind illusive.
My mother is bringing home the reality that we never really let go of being a mother. The process of mothering is such a potent challenge because it requires 100% responsibility for our children’s needs and wholehearted involvement, and then demands that we let go, allow the separation to take place, and return to the task of turning our attention to our own life lessons.
On this Mothers Day, lets make the effort to show our appreciation for all the different phases of mothering, from the hands on work to the necessity of letting go.
Susan facilitates on-going personal development six-week seminars locally. She is the author of BEYOND INTELLECT: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Contact her at: susanvelasquez.com or (949) 494-7773.