It’s a tricky one, Mother’s Day.
It means well. It started out well and then, well, it met Capitalism and kind of lost it’s way.
In recent years some brave voices have quietly reminded us that all this in-your-face motherly fantasy, every May, does not bring unmitigated joy to all. I confess to being sometimes being one of them.
My own relationship with my mother was a mutually destructive mess and then she died when I was 21 and so nothing between us was resolved. We got to say a final, “I love you,” and that saved my life many times over the following decades.
Becoming a mother brought me immense joy, and worry, panic, fear, of course mingled right along with astonishment, wonder, discovery, tears, and laughter, always laughter. My daughter is so much more than I could have imagined, a kaleidoscope of her father, me, myriad ancestors, teachers, and her own, true self. From her first butterfly-wing-stirrings within me to the confident young professional who steers me around her city with confidence and insight, I have had the luxury of reveling in raising my child and witnessing the evolution from child to healthy, functional adult. No, it was seldom easy. Yes, it was utterly rewarding. She is blessing beyond measure.
It’s all been much more than I deserve, and both easier than it should have been and much harder than I ever anticipated, in my innocence, when her father and I decided sure, let’s have a baby!
There have been moments of the bittersweet. For a variety of reasons not all her fault, I was a better mother than my own was, but Dear Lord I am flawed and oh yes, I surely left scars. All mothers do, and few of us ever forgive ourselves. My blessing is my daughter is given to a deep complexity of thought, so I have a shot at redemption, or at least understanding, that many other mothers will never have.
My own mother was dead many years by the time my daughter was born. I have few photos of her, but I do have her wedding pictures from the 1960s – gotta love that up do! – and I wondered what we three Kelly girls might look like, together-ish. Oh, the dangers of photoshop.
Whatever sort of Mother’s Day you are having, be you Mother, Child, or anything in between, I wish you blessings, joy, forgiveness, redemption, and peace.