I am at the age now where I no longer look at my mother as solely a list of descriptors – my first and best teacher, my fiercest advocate, my protector, my betrayer, my disciplinarian, my supporter, my source of creativity, my mother.
It took me a long time to get to this point. I used to be angry. Confused, and sometimes outright disgusted, at the choices she made. I was unrelenting in my coldness towards her, mastering the balance of ambivalence and familial duty. I was distant, hurt and did I mention angry. I was very angry.
But sometime in the last five years, this changed. As Iyanla Vanzant said, "one day my soul just opened up." I began to understand myself and the sources of my anger, and the fact that being angry wouldn’t change my past. As I continue to progress on this journey towards parenthood, I assess myself often. I think about how I react to different situations and step back and look at myself. I realize that I’m a women – just a human being with strengths and flaws. I wonder if I’m going to be a good parent and I continually remind myself that I can only do the best I can do.
And then I think – my mother – was 22 years old when she had me. Four years later, she had another daughter and essentially raised us by herself. I’m 35 and there are still areas in my life where I’m still learning myself.
I look back at my past relationships and the bad decisions that I’ve made. Some of those experiences have had a profound impact on my life and in ways, influence my interactions in my marriage. I’ve engaged in relationships that were wrong for me and I’ve stayed in situations too long. I imagine having two other people that witnessed all of my mistakes, were impacted by them and now have the ability to judge me for them. It would be a hard situation to deal with.
So although Mother’s Day has past, I’m recognizing my mother for the woman that she has become. One that is flawed and imperfect but still strong and wonderful. The one that I will pattern myself after and hope that my children turn out as well as hers did…if I say so myself.