You made it look so easy – mothering young children. Between balancing the needs of two small kids, the operations involved in running a household, being an attentive wife and excelling at your career; you made it seem as though there were never any sacrifices or heartache, loneliness or times of unease. Like a director behind the camera, you orchestrated our lives without ever taking the spotlight.
Six years ago I learned one of the guarded secrets of motherhood, one that won’t be found in any book or on any blog, but revealed itself the instant my newborn was placed in my arms. With motherhood came a realization that I will never again think just of myself. Every thought from the most mundane to the dreamiest fantasies that occupy my mind will always carry with it the needs of three little people.
I thought you did this mothering job effortlessly. But I was wrong. You worked. You worked tirelessly, selflessly and endlessly to give us a solid foundation of values upon which to build our independence. You did this while reading stories, walking us to school, building forts, snuggling in on movie nights and never ceasing to cheer us on. You gave us a childhood that storybook tales are based on.
I know now that you silently struggled too. You were not a deity that immaculately bore her children, but just a regular girl who had babies. You struggled to find your self, your voice and balance, just like me. Just like most moms.
The bar is set high. There are days when I feel so selfish for wanting more, wanting it all and yet I am humbled by what you did for us without ever acknowledging that some of the choices you made mustn’t have been easy. But that’s what a good mother does. A good mother doesn’t push the weight of their world onto their children. Like an illusionist, she allows her children to see only what she wants them to.
I wish that I had your patience, your calm and your perspective. I admit that I often feel as though I am losing my way and not only myself but the kind of mother I strive to be. Still when I feel like I am faltering I turn to you for support, guidance, and reassurance. Instead of looking up at you for answers and love like I once did, I look to you. And you have yet to let me down.
Once I became a mother you told me that the hardest part about mothering was learning how to not be a mother. It took me years to understand what you meant by that and although my boys still cling to my skirt, I am terrified for the day when I will have to loosen my grip and eventually let go.
It is true, mom, that I do not need you anymore. You have given me direction, your strength and a ground on which to stand. You have nourished my mind, body and soul for years and given me the fundamentals to raise my boys with the same unconditional love and immeasurable encouragement that you gave me.
You’re right, mom. I do not need you anymore. But I will always want you.