Sunday, May 8, 2011

Walk Beside Me


When you're a child she walks before you,
To set an example.
When you're a teenager she walks behind you
To be there should you need her.
When you're an adult she walks beside you
So that as two friends you can enjoy life together..
- Author Unknown.

It's Mother's Day, and I've spent it celebrating myself, to be honest.  I've looked at my kids today and I've felt proud.  I've seen them try not to argue with each other and I've seen their eyes glimmering in my direction.  I've seen their home-made cards, which pack more love and sincerity in them than anything that could be found at a mall.  I've seen what my hard work has helped create, and I've sat back in total delight.  I couldn't be more proud, and I couldn't be more thankful for my husband who allowed me the time and space to observe all of this today.

There is a  time in our lives when we begin to focus on that which our mother did not provide, or on those things that we would change if we could.  I don't know why we do this.  For me, I actually remember feeling so fiercely connected to my mom that I could not see a fault in her for many years.  Even when it was pointed out to me, I preferred my point of view and could not see a negative.  This was also true of my grandma, whom I still see through rose-colored glasses!  At some point, however, I needed to separate from not be not be in her defense.  This was painful for me to step away from her, but I did.  

I chose this poem, because it is simple and most pearls of wisdom that I stumble upon.  As a teenager I did begin to walk in front of her, never knowing the faith it took for her to have me blaze my own trail.  Never considering how it felt to be broken away from...never being empathetic to the fact that my growing-up process would include judging her harshly.  

I don't know that all other teens do this, but I do know a lot about what is age appropriate, and this seems to make me "normal".  I regret having to see her as "wrong" in order to spread my own wings and carve my own path, but this seemed a necessary part of my process.  What grace it must take to watch your child...your sweet babe...cast you out in the name of personal growth.  

The beauty in it is that she did this for me (and my sisters) without protest...without judgement.  Like knowing us and raising us prepared her somehow for this period of time when we were only willing to see how we would do it differently.  I never remember her feelings being hurt, although I do remember treating her with far less respect and gratitude than she deserves.  

This is motherhood...the giving...the faith.  It is done by many and without complaint by most.  It is a wisdom or a love that sees through what even the rowdiest teen or twenty-something can dish out.  It is what sustains this teen or gives them strength even when they don't want to accept it directly from their mother.  

I don't think a mother does this with a knowing that later in life they will be repaid with endless gratitude and friendship from their child, but this is what happens.  At some point we, as adult children, see easily past the judgements we have had, and can focus on all that was done for us...all that we learned and witnessed.  We then become our mother's biggest fans again...just as we were when our hands fit in theirs and our arms could barely reach their hips during an embrace.  We find the wisdom we had lost during our tumultuous growing-up period, and we find our mom's waiting for us with a sweet smile.  How lucky we are to have mothers.

Now that I am a mother...with a daughter who's ten going on 15...I can see just how it is that a mother endures the breaking-away period.  It happens because a mother loves her child with a heart that has no focus on personal gains.  A mother looks at her child..whatever his/her age...and sees through all behavior right to all that is hopeful and good.  A mother believes that there is a purpose for whatever is occurring without taking it personally.  A mother's heart never looses faith and sight of what her child is.  In this way, love is always the this way, we are all blessed to have a mother.

Whatever the past has brought you...whatever words have been said or acts that have been done...we are all lucky to have the love of a mother.  I am honored to be a mother myself, for it allows me the understanding of what my mother has done for me.  It gives me the delight of walking through this life with my mother by my side as I make my own mistakes...not the same mistakes, but all new ones...with my sweet children.

Cheers to all the mothers out there, in whatever form they may come in for you.