Mother's Day 2014. Thanks, Son
Being a mother isnt just about what you give them. Sometimes its also about what they give you
I was late for Mass this morning. Im always a good 10 minutes early, but this morning I spent too much time looking at Facebook posts for Mother's Day and liking so many posts and pics.
I got there about 5 minutes after Mass had begun and took a moment or two, standing at the back of church, looking for a place to sit. I was confused and out of sorts because I was late and my usual pew was already taken.
Clearly, I was distracted.
I saw a place to sit and made my way to the pew. Just as I got there, and as I was getting seated, I turned and there in the aisle stood my eldest son, Scott, He was dressed up, in a suit and tie and stood there holding a lavender tulip. Lavender because he knows how much I love lavender and the tulip because I love those too.
He was by himself. No Kathleen and no grandsons. He came alone to be with me, his Mom, at Mass, on Mother's Day.
I dont think I have to tell anyone about the lump in my throat or the tears stinging my eyes.
We go thru this business of parenting making mistakes, kicking ourselves in the butt for this screw-up and that screw-up and wondering how in the world these kids can ever possibly turn out to be decent adults. We spend hours reading books on how to do it and we do everything we can think to do in order to be good and decent parents. We read to them. We play games with them. We teach them how to cook, how to do laundry, how to plant flowers. We go to school events. We go to their games. We yell and cheer and get excited for them. We hold their hands thru all of their life's highs and lows and we are always there to listen to them and help them. Yet there is always that nagging, little voice inside all of us reminding us that we could have done it better.
Having been raised by a mother who was an alcoholic, I know all about bad parenting. I always vowed that I would be a good Mom and more importantly, that I would be a better Mom than mine had been to me. Its very true that it wouldnt have taken much in order for me to be a better parent, than my own mom was to me. But it wasnt enough for me to better..I think I wanted to be the best. And I know I made mistakes in trying to achieve that unachievable goal...especially with my eldest son, Scott.
Oh how much we are alike!
He is the male version of me and I, the female version of him. Often those similarities have caused us to be at odds and many of those times were due to my inability to be flexible and understanding of him and I believe much of that was due to my expectations. Often they were unreasonable expectations and again, based on my need to be perfect, I expected the same of him.
Perfection was what I strove for. It had been ingrained in me since I was a small child that anything less than perfect wasnt good enough. I fought and struggled, and in many ways still do struggle, with allowing myself to NOT be perfect and realizing that no one is and that its OK to fail and fall and be human. There are days when I allow myself to be a sloth so that I can remind myself that Im NOT perfect!
Sadly, I expected the same from my children and most especially from Scott.
Sometimes it takes a mountain to fall on top of someone to make them see how wrong they are being. I am grateful that I was able to recognize and try to amend and give to my son the love and support and understanding he deserved from his less than perfect, but full of love and good intentions, Mom.
He grew into a man any mother would be proud to have. He is now married with his own family of 4 boys and his capacity for love is noticed by anyone who sees him with his family. What more can any parent hope for?
Perfect? No, hes not. But then Im so glad he isnt and doesnt try to be. Im so glad that he looked back and remembered the lessons we both learned, along the way of both of us growing up.
The days of wondering and worrying over whether I had done it right or if I had done it so horribly wrong that it could not be changed back, are long gone. I am at peace with the knowledge that I did my best and when I didnt do my best, no one could make me feel worse about that, than I did myself. I know that I loved my children and with all my heart tried to be a good mother to them and I know that no matter how miserably I might have failed them, that I always let them know, as I kissed them goodnight, that despite their crazy mother and her crazy ways, they were loved and cherished by her and their Dad.
I think I might have succeeded, in spite of myself. And that day in May, as I turned and saw my handsome, well dressed son, standing in the aisle of Church, holding out a lavender tulip, I got all the red stars any Mom could ever hope to ask for on her scorecard.
It might not seem like much, but that gesture, that day, sweet and simple though it was, meant more to me than I can find words to say.
Happy Mothers Day Mom
Happy Mothers Day Scott