How many times have we all thought this over the years; growing up, through the ebb and flow of school, reports, play dates, church plays, musical performances, church services, AP classes, getting a driver's license at 16, dating, graduation, college, moving out, dating, therapy, turning 21, getting a degree, finding a job, finding a better job, dating (ugh), going back to church (mom breathes a sigh of relief,) finding an even better job, (finally) finding a life mate, marriage, setting up our own household and now on to WombWatch'08... (don't hold your breath...)
A small but powerful thought, it weaves its way into everyday life - an easy escape from facing reality. But it is neither easy or an escape. It is wrong. It is hurtful. It is spiteful. And it scratches at the foundation of love -for others and for ourselves- as we so desperately grasp at it as a mantra to explain why there is hate and anger and hardship and rage in the volatile process of growing up.
A few years ago I came to the (obvious but true) realization that when I was born, a child-rearing manual written specifically for my unique temperament and gifts did NOT pop out with me. So starts the move from self-centered "why me" to world- (and mom-) reflective "breathe and grow." My life problems are not the fault of my mother. She gave me every opportunity, hug, encouragement, lesson and bit of love that she knew how while I was growing up. Child development is an incredibly complex process - one that I do not believe we can ever master. We will forever be hard at work to bring forth life into the world, to mold that child as best we can and ever after be one step behind, in the shadows of our child's life, should they fall and forget how to get up. (And that is NOT an endorsement of attachment parenting. Just FYI.)
Why daughters, in particular, allow our relationships with our mothers to become a tangled web of love and hate is beyond me. My mother has been the single most influential person in my life. Period. She has loved me even when she didn't know how, as have I with her. Every fight, every iota of energy pushing me forward/onward/higher/to do better/to be better/to live better - all from love and the knowledge that I had the capacity for better in me. My mother tells me that from birth she saw a spark in me - creativity, tenacity, independence - that she didn't want to douse. We may never fully understand one another, may have times when we aren't so enthusiastic about the other, but underneath it all is a tie that no fight can break, no words can sever, no mistake can push away.
I think that a mother's love is God's third greatest gift to us (after Grace and marriage.) That we be not only beautiful daughters of Christ, but beautiful daughters of our mothers. Not everyone uses that gift, and not everyone is given that gift, but we all deserve that love. That link. That tie. That unbelievable power contained in a single hug. That overwhelming desire to make proud. That necessary safety to be able to develop into our true self.
So... if I could provide that to even just one child in my life, as my mother has to me, I will be complete. I will have fulfilled my life's journey. To be a beautiful daughter of God, and to shine/reflect that beautiful love to another. Because I was wrong... I LOVE my mother. A lot. (And she loves me, too. Imagine that.)