I recently realized that my children may have mother issues. I was shocked! When a particular interaction produced a particular nonverbal response in one of my beloveds, I thought… Wow, what is it like to have me as a mom?
I am a kind of a force of nature. I care deeply about things. I have strong opinions. No one ever wondered what I really think. I get stuff done. I am a lot. I imagine that finding some sunlight, a piece of ground that is their very own, has been a challenge. Part of growing up has meant learning to find their voice, their feet, and the confidence to share their own perspective on the world. Much of the conflict and wrestling in our relationship has certainly been about finding some places that were theirs alone.
I have figured some things out. I wish I could introduce them to the hot mess I was at their age… At lots of ages. When we tell stories of our younger selves, I think the fear, turmoil and ignorance are left out, or at least glossed over. But, you should have seen it in color. We were babies when we married and built a life out of nothing. It wasn’t pretty. It was hard, very hard. No one is more surprised than us that it turned out okay. We want so badly to protect them from the hard… and yet, they are determined to do it their own way.
I get it wrong. Sometimes, I fall back into old patterns, rehearsing an old story about who they are, or how we are. Sometimes I miss the brand new things that are just beginning in their lives because I am not paying attention. Sometimes, I am lazy and careless with my words, their hearts. Sometimes, I tear down instead of build up. Sometimes my hopes and dreams for them get in the way. Sometimes, I need to simply enjoy them here and let them find their way.
Years ago I learned that having the image of a “good mom” in my head, pushing me to live or be a certain way did not serve me well. I gave up that illusion and learned to just be me as a mom. To give them what I have, to share my heart, to pour out my authentic self. Yes, I’m sure they have and will continue to struggle with me as their mom… If I am honest, I am still struggling with her as well. Maybe it’s okay to love them imperfectly, to simply give what I have, just as it is. Maybe learning to love and be loved by someone who isn’t perfect is a lesson worth learning.