If you would have asked me about my relationship with my mother about 12 years ago I wouldn’t have had much good to say. I was 18 and mixed up with a boy. I was leaving behind acceptance letters from all four of the Universities I had applied to: UC Santa Barbara, Chico State University, UCSD, and Cal State, Bakersfield to move 3000 miles away. I was smoking (cigarettes, I know–>foul habit) and ditching class–>I was, essentially, on a path of self-destruction . At the time it didn’t feel that way though. I felt as though I was liberating myself from my mother’s high expectations. I felt as though there was no room for me to be “less than the best” in my home. In my early twenties I wrestled with the relationship between my mother and I. I don’t want you to preceive that my mom was some horrible mommy dearest, because she wasn’t. She did have high expectations and she wasn’t very forthcoming with love. She didn’t fawn all over me or dote on me when I was sick and she was hard to please. You are probably wondering where I am going with this…some Mother’s Day shout-out huh? LOL So, here is the point of all this: I spent so many years focusing on what she could have done better, in my eyes, instead of focusing on all that she did RIGHT. I know of the roads my mother has traveled in her life; dark roads filled with hurt and violation and abandonment. She chose better for me. MY MOM CHOSE BETTER FOR ME. She didn’t wallow and get hooked on drugs or become and alcoholic, even though she could have easily gone down that path. Here is what my mom did right:
She became educated: she worked hard and sacrificed much to become an RN so that we could move into a better neighborhood.
She always made sure I had clean clothes to wear and that they fit.
She fed me.
She encourgaed me to strive for more.
She believed in me.
She encouraged every hobby or extracurricular activity I wanted to participate in.
She went to work on days she didn’t want to, for me.
She shared her love of music with me.
She taught me about respecting myself and my body.
She talked to me anytime, day or night, when I needed to talk.
She respected me, her child…she respected me as a human being.
She never put her hands on me in anger. The only time my mother every physically touched me it was to give me a hug..and I believe that is the way it ought to be. I don’t spank my children either.
I could come to my mother with anything and she would not sit in judgment. She would listen and then offer advice.
She took me on long car rides so we could just talk.
She taught me to me humble.
She taught me to be compassionate and have empathy for others.
She taught me to take pride in what I do and who I am.
She taught me to be a hard worker.
She taught me to look outside the four walls of my house, to the rest of the world.
She taught me to have a sense of humor.
She taught me to stick up for myself.
The list could go on and on. You see, the thing I have come to realize is that the list of all my mom has done right throughout the years far outweighs anything else. I might have had a little more pressure and less I love yous growing up, but I have had something more important than that. I have had real, solid proof that my mother loves me. When she chose to abstain from drugs and alcohol, when she chose to not beat me as she had been beaten, when she chose to go to school so I could grow up with more opportunities, when she chose my dad, when she chose to protect me from a life of violence, when she chose to be more than what she was told she would become as a child–>she chose BETTER, not only for herself but–>for ME! If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Love you mom and I thank you for raising the bar and breaking the cycle of violence. There is no greater gift you coud have given me than the feeling that I was safe in my home. I never had to be afraid. I wish I could give you the childhood you gave me…love you.