|Little me on my mother's lap.|
Mom was very strict. She was all about obedient children and being an in-control parent. Immediate obedience was expected. She was also a reserved and private person who rarely shared her thoughts or emotions. Expressions of feeling were out of the question in our home, especially tears of anger or sadness. The loving hugs and smiles of encouragement a child loves came from my grandmother but rarely from my mother.
Whatever the facts of either of our personalities and lives, I grew to adulthood wondering if my mother really loved me. She and my father provided food, clothing, shelter, order, and the teachings of right and wrong, but children don't always see those as evidence of love. Sometimes we don't recognize that as love until we're parents ourselves.
The joy I see in Mom's face in the photo at left, taken half a decade before I was born, was a very rare sight to my childhood eyes. I don't know when or why the joy dissolved.
It's taken me years to come to terms with my feelings toward my mom and my perception of how she mothered me. I've learned -- and continue to learn -- to give the benefit of the doubt to others in situations where I don't understand the other person's behavior and/or am hurt by it. That perspective sometimes takes me longer to reach than other times, but I always get there. With my mother, it comes down to believing she did the best she could at the time. Aren't we all doing that? I suppose none of us are as good as we hope we'll one day be. And in the end, isn't the best we can do at the moment all we can do?
Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you.
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