You are your mother’s daughter. You are your children’s mother

via Creative Commons

“Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.” (Mitch Albom)

This is for those women whose relationship with their mothers has not been ideal and who have tried to redeem that relationship as best they can by being a good mother to their own children.

You should know that your efforts do not go unnoticed. You have turned your own disappointment into hope, your lack into plenty, your sadness into joy.

Humans are complex and allowed to be so. Our motives are often mixed and that is okay. You can love your mother but also be angry or disappointed in her.

But you, you have turned those things which disappointed you into your best effort to do right by your children. In turn, when your children grow up, you will have done the heavy lifting so that they can simply follow your lead.

It is said that an addiction or mental illness affects four generations: the parents, the one with the problem, that person’s children, and that person’s grandchildren. It is certainly easy for that to play out. But let’s turn it around. Because of you and your decision to do what’s good and right, your parents, your children, and your grandchildren will benefit.

As a man, I cannot know all the dynamics that exist between a woman and her mother. I have seen first-hand that it is complicated, full of meaning and often inner-conflict. I do know that as someone whose mother was perhaps more flawed than most, it took me a long time to realize my mother’s greatest gift to me: my life. Had she not given me life, had my unique soul not been introduced when, where, and to whom it was, I would not know the blessings of spring flowers, exercise, the way a baby’s head smells, reading, or any of the other everyday miracles.

You have done the same. I recently was driving toward home in the morning and saw a mother talking to her son, who was probably about seven years old. In an instant, I thought about how this woman had given birth to this boy (which is a miracle itself), fed and changed him as a baby, taught him right from wrong and how to speak and read. And now, here she was, having a conversation with this little human being, paying close attention to whatever he was telling her.

This is you. You make sure these children have what they need. You build up their self-esteem. You teach them right from wrong, and when they need a bit of discipline, that is one of your roles too.

As I’m writing this, approaching Mother’s Day, whatever else you might do in life, know that you occupy a seat of honor among humanity. Someone is who they are because of who you are. Let any sense of regret go now. You need your hands-free to accept all the love your family has for you.

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