Friday, May 7

The Secret Love of Mothers

Its the eve of Mother's Day weekend. Mother's Day is a great holiday even though its fake. We should all take time to love our mothers half as much as they love you. When I was 16 and up half the night with a screaming baby only to drag myself to school in the morning I was under the delusion that things got easier. People tell that lie to new mothers. That the baby years are hard, but parenting gets better. Things get better when they sleep. After potty training.

To some extent its true. I look back and remember Alex when she was 4 and she had the last of her baby fat and dimples and lots of cute things say. She was a good little kid, and I think I got cocky. I bought into the myth that parenting would be sunshine and rainbows until she left for college. It is easy to love the child who smiles and loves you back.

Now I find what real love is. It's not easy to like a person who blames you because they lost their shoes and throws a fit because they refused to wake up before it was time to walk out of the house. Still, I love my child. To love your child while they walk through the dark valley of adolescence, when they are as charming as barbed wire, is proof of God's perfect grace. If I get out the door each morning without strangling mine many times over it is only because Angels are watching over her.

When I was 16, when other adults found me unbearable. When my aunts and even, occasionally, my father looked at me and saw the decline of American civilization and the coming of a dark age in world history, my mother still loved me with all her heart. And she loves me still today, despite all the bad choices I made. Don't get me started. Love your mother.

Do not buy her cheap chocolates or a bouquet of daisies marked down to 50 percent at the local grocery store. She only pretended to like those last year. Don't take her to dinner. She has eaten plenty of dinners with you and one more won't be that thrilling. Just love her.

Get out a sheet of paper and pencil. Write her a love letter, and take her a bottle of wine.


Amy said...

Katy, You described the agony and ecstasy of motherhood eloquently. Every child needs to have someone who loves them unconditionally. For me, those many years ago, after losing my mother at age 14, there was my beloved grandmother (we called her Mommy Olive) who loved me no matter what. The truth is that I was so emotionally scarred and hurt, it took several decades to get my head in line with everything else in my life. But she was there.

Now I have two adult daughters and a precious grandson. It's amazing what strength mothers and daughters have within them!

The Bug said...

Wonderful essay about motherhood. I wish my mom were still around - but know that she knew how much I loved her.

The Bug said...

P.S. Dr. M & I were cackling about the angels protecting your daughter LOL.

Jo said...

Aw... what a beautiful post.

"If I get out the door each morning without strangling mine many times over it is only because Angels are watching over her." No, no, no ... the Angels sent you to do the job. :-)

(It's interesting how both you and I used a painting by Mary Cassatt for our Mother's Day blog post. Your post, however, is lovely -- and much better than mine. You are a wonderful writer.)