Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What Kind of Mother Am I?

This is something I think about often. And as my children continue to grow into their own adulthood, I wonder what they will remember about their childhoods: what they will remember about me, their mother. What kind of mother was I? What kind of mother am I today? What kind of grandmother will I be? Will I leave something positive in the world when I am gone? Will my descendents want to emulate my example, or will I be a disappointment to them?

The book I am currently reading is "Love Walked In" by Marisa de los Santos. In this story a young girl, Clare, is abandoned by her mentally ill mother and is taken in by Cornelia, a woman who by some coincidence is currently seeing Clare's estranged father. One night Clare is sleeping in Cornelia's home, and during the night Cornelia hears Clare sobbing and saying, "I want my mommy." At that point Cornelia has the following insight:

"I thought about those words, how they contained so much more than they seemed to contain, more than any four words could hold. They meant what they meant and were also a universal cry, maybe the universal, plaintive, openhearted cry for comfort. Soldiers in the heat of battle; death-row prisoners; explorers stranded in deserts, jungles, on mountaintops; anyone sick or lost or just tired and bewildered; we all want our mothers. I thought about my own mother—straight-backed, eternally smiling, never without tissues, Band-Aids, lipstick, aspirin, optimism, and reassurance. Mothers—why didn't they all collapse under such weight? I shivered."

Yes, mothers ought to be and should be the quintessential support for so much of our lives, for all of our lives. I know that I try to be that for my children, and I'll die before I will stop trying. It's what I live for. It's what gives me life. It is almost beyond comprehension that by some great miracle their tiny bodies formed and grew inside of mine, and it remains a miracle that I am continually blessed each and every day to be the mother of my sweet babies Stephanie and David. What a gift it is to be a mother—their mother, and I pray that I can always live up to the obligations, and be worthy of the blessings. 

"A mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled."  —Emily Dickinson

"Mother is a verb, not a noun."  —unknown