For Americans, Mother’s Day has become a Hallmark© holiday, where gifts, cards, flowers are a must. Advertisers play on our “shoulds” and push their wares on guilt ridden shoppers. I am not condemning thoughtful gifts or attention to recognize the amazing, important job that mothers have, but lately time for reflection is where it is at for me.
Mother’s day has taken on new meaning for me since becoming a mother myself. I find that I am a typical sandwich generation gal, tending to my own aging mothers increasing needs while also raising my small children. I use Mother’s Day as reminder to take time for myself, to reflect. This year, I will pick my mother up from her caregiver, to take her to an annual family get together hosted by my aunt. My mother has been slipping away into alzheimers induced dementia, for many years now, and each year, I wonder if she will be able to attend outings in the next year.
So, I focus on my memories of her, of my childhood. I long to talk with her about my own children. Ask her oppinion on situations, developmental tasks. Just share amusing toddler stories with her and know that she registers what I am saying. But most often, she is disoriented and not sure who I am, much less who the little creatures running around her are (grandchildren). I am left with my own memories and experience of my mother over the years, made more vivid as my children reach each milestone.
For Mother’s Day this year, I am pondering all that I learned from my mother, how her input, influence, unconditional love, faith, and wisdom has enabled me to be the parent that I am. I am choosing to focus more on the positive aspects, but recognize the things I would and will do differently as well. My mother went back to work when I was six, and I always looked up to her, modeled myself after her as a working mom. She juggled the roles of professional counselor, mother, friend, wife….. I watched her struggle to take care of her own needs, always putting us first, neglecting her health, her wardrobe, her relationships. Even those choices have shaped me as an adult and particularly as a mother. I am keenly aware of the importance of balance in this juggling act.
I watch as the cycle continues. My own 20 month old daughter is obsessed with her doll stroller, and has begin taking various dolls with her everywhere we go, wrapping them in blankets and singing to them.
I could go on for a long time about what I appreciate, value, am thankful for etc, but will save that for my own journal or another post. Do take some time this week to reflect. What gifts do you carry with you from your mother? What are your favorite memories? Vivid lessons? How has she shaped your parenting? What would you like to tell her, (or what will you tell her if you can)?
Perhaps you were not lucky enough to have a positive, supportive relationship with your mother. You struggle to identify gifts or favorite memories. This might be a time to contemplate forgiveness if you are holding onto unnecessary, or useless baggage. Give yourself the gift of freedom! Talk with a friend, journal about it, seek counseling!
Happy Mother’s Day to you!