Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Gratitude, A Little Late

No amount of conversations with my mother or therapy could begin to help me understand my mother's love as much as becoming a mother has. Unfortunately my mother is no longer around for me to express this to her.

I lost my mother when my older son was a little less than a year. Not a day goes by now that I don't pause in amazed wonder at how my mother took care of three young children, managed the household and excelled at school. What's more she did all this while battling with anorexia.

Before becoming a mother I saw only how her disease negatively impacted her role as a mother. Now I can appreciate how incredibly strong she was. How her love came through in so many small ways. How hard she must have struggled to just get through everyday. How much she chastised herself for her own difficulties.

My mother once told me she went to bed every night resolving to do better the next day in her interactions with me. I didn't appreciate this at the time. Now I understand and wish I could tell her how much I appreciate her efforts.

Thankfully I don't face nearly as many hurdles as my mother did. I don't live with the demon that eventually killed her. But, like all mothers I have my own issues. There are my lofty ideals of how I think a mother should be and then there is the reality of what I can achieve. Like my mother, I try everyday to do just a little bit better.

Growing up I fantasized about having a mother like I thought my friends had. From the outside it was easy to think other mothers were perfect. As a mother, I now realize the only thing perfect about any mother is the all encompassing love we can each feel for our children.

I can no more expect perfection from myself than I could from my mother. But, I can hope, that I can successfully offset my shortcomings with abundant love just as my mother did.


Juggling Frogs said...

(my eyes are stinging.)

Thank you. This was beautiful, and just what I needed to read today.

Anonymous said...

If I could reach out and hug you I would. It often takes until we become parents ourselves to truly appreciate the sacrafices made by our own mothers.

This is a beautifully written, heartfelt post. There is no need to wish the ability to tell your mom how you feel. As she smiles down on you and your child, she knows.