Saturday, April 23, 2016

Flowers and Hearts

We're coming up on one of the hardest times of year for me - Mothers Day. It's difficult to wade through the messages everywhere that all mothers are saintly. Some just ... aren't ... No matter what anyone else believes, nobody really knows what goes on behind closed doors ... except the ones behind those doors. Some kinds of memories can sour the pleasures of the present.

And of course, the annual event (and its hype) is also a reminder of one of my children who is not here anymore to wish me a happy Mothers Day. . . that kind of pain never goes away, but is more keenly felt on the 2nd Sunday in May.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to have had a wonderful mother, I am glad that you did. If your wonderful mother is still living, be sure to tell her - and show her (not just one day a year) - that you love and appreciate her. That means a lot more than gushy words in a card, pretty flowers or corsages, and chocolates once a year.

If your wonderful mother has passed away at any time (and especially recently) - I grieve with you for having lost someone very special in your life.

And if (like me) how you feel about your mom is "complicated" and you have mixed feelings (at best) about Mother's Day - and especially IF you are a mother with that kind of background ... might I offer my perspective?  I have learned through trial and error (mostly error) that the best way to survive the last week of April and the first half of May (with all the advertising campaigns capitalizing on guilt and shame) is to focus on the present and BE a good mom all year round. 
A good mom is one whose children feel safe to be themselves around her.
Photo "Dandelions" courtesy of sattva at

"Now" is important.  Now matters. Continue breaking the cycle of bad parenting, abuse, and/or neglect. Treat your children - no matter how young - like the real people they are, not just as miniature extensions of yourself. Don't set them up to be laughed at - and NEVER laugh at them or call them names, or dismiss their "little feelings" (there is NOTHING "little" about feelings) as "cute" just because the reason for their distress seems minor to you. 

Respect their boundaries. Take their side. Celebrate their accomplishments. Go to bat for them when they are treated unfairly.  Say please and thank you to your children, and MEAN it. Say you're sorry to their face (and MEAN it) when you mess up. Teach them basic housekeeping and cooking techniques, do these tasks together, and teach them the joy of helping others for its own sake, not to avoid punishment or gain a material reward.  They will remember for the rest of their lives the way you treat them when they are little.  They will also remember how you treat others who have little or no power, and when they grow up, they will most likely treat others the same way.

And when the day comes (whether they're three or sixty-three) when they want to honour you for being that good Mom - and they will - don't rob them of that joy.  Smile and say thank you.  Even if all they bring you is dandelions, if it comes from the heart, see the heart behind it, look them in the eyes with all the love you have inside, and say thank you.

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