Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reflections on Mother's Day.

This is a picture of my children.  They are as different as night and day, black and white, left and right.  I love them with all my heart.  I love them in spite of their flaws and I hope they love me in spite of mine.  They gave me the best job in the world, the job with the most heartaches and headaches, the job with the highest of highs and the best of rewards.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, a day which has always been a little bittersweet for me.  I lost my mother when she was 52 years old, and I was 28.  She died of breast cancer and has been gone for 27 years now.  I still miss her.  I still daydream about how my life would have been different if she would have lived longer.  This will be the third year I have participated in the Mother's Day 5K to raise money for breast cancer prevention.  My daughter-in-law and granddaughter also participate in this event.  I walk in memory of Mom.  I walk in hopes that someday soon there will be a cure for breast cancer (and all cancers).  I wish my children could remember her and could have known her love as I did.

I also think about my mother-in-law on this day.  She passed away 34 years ago this June.  She was like a mother to me.  She was loving, accepting and generous with her time.  She was 45 and died from Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, unknown cause.  She was not a smoker and had been in good health.  I miss her and also daydream about what a difference she would have made in my adult life.  Many people say that Jessica resembles her in appearance and personality.  I consider that a great blessing.  She was the oldest of 10 children, including 7 brothers.  I wish my children could have know her, it would have certainly enriched their lives.

I now have a step-mother, Martha.  Martha is one of the sweetest, kindest women you will ever know.  She can always find a positive in any situation and she never lets anything mean or disrespectful pass her lips.  She looks about 25 years younger than she is and acts as youthful.  I love her very much and count myself lucky that she is in my life.

I have recently spent a great deal of time pondering the role of parenting adult children.  I am not sure I have been as successful parenting my children as adults.  I have trouble knowing when to stay silent and when to give advice (which is rarely solicited by my children).  Backing off and letting go is not easy and are roles I have not accepted naturally.  Truthfully, I have not had the chance to follow in my mother or mother-in-laws footsteps, since they both died so young.  Maybe I needed to see how they would have handled us as adults (although my mom died when I was 28, she had been ill for quite some time before her death).  I think part of my psych wants to hold on to my kids because I know how precious life is and how it can change in the blink of an eye.  I want to hold them close and tell them that our time together is limited and will not last (something younger people don't usually comprehend).  Of course, who wants to hear that?  So I plod along, doing the best I can to be what they need me to be.  Friend?  Adviser? Counselor? Casual observer?  I am not really sure what the mix should be.  One thing is certain, my children are not afraid to speak up and let me know when I step on toes or go too far into their lives.  I raised two bright, self-confident and well-spoken human beings.  I am proud of the adults they have become.  I hope they are equally as proud of me. 

I have been so blessed in my life to have had so many strong and beautiful women influence me.  I hope someday I will be remembered as a strong woman who did what she could to help the people she loved. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the women out there who had mothers, who are mothers or who will someday be mothers.  May you be as blessed in your life as I have been in mine.

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