Yesterday’s annual Neighborhood Garage Sale provided lots of opportunities – not just to clear energies in the household but also to reflect.
Between the waves of folks scouting their latest treasures, I had a chance to sort through further possessions salvaged from the 1963 home (in which I grew up) following my parents’ passing. For, the process of getting ready to turn keys in those locks the last time on April 10, 2013 simply proved too daunting to deal with lingering organizing in the moment. Now, I am ready to tackle those next photos, recipes, toys, clothes and such.
Here are three sets of reflections that arose in me concerning the often complex and layered maternal relationship.
Poor to “Needs Plenty Improvement”
I’ve mentioned more than once via this Blog that many in my circles are so estranged from their mothers as to have practically divorced them. For those with a solid connection, this state-of-affairs is almost inconceivable if not objectionable. I know. Yet, I’ve also gone right to the limit in saying those with poor parental relationships have every right to feel as they do. Please walk a mile in their shoes and then decide if your harsh judgments are warranted.
Barely OK to Fair
Even if your motherly situation is so-so, it’s OK to feel mixed about this calendar date. World-wide, stores, restaurants, florists and other service providers have been going gang-busters in preparation for being flooded. Goodness! For those with poor or moderate maternal circumstances, it’s one of the year’s most challenging days. Society absolutely “expects” you to honour the woman who carried and gave birth to you. What of your feelings?
Good to Excellent
As I’ve also expressed often enough, if you have a good to excellent mother, consider yourself lucky. If you were to poll those around you, it’s highly possible you’d turn out to be in the minority – even if you don’t believe me. My radio station is blaring messages as we speak about “my Mom is my best friend and I don’t know what I’d do without her”. While this was not my reality for decades growing up, I’ve recently come to “get it” better.
How Will You Acknowledge Mother’s Day?
No matter your truth, I urge even those of you with downright “bad” mothers to find some way to acknowledge this significant woman in your life. This exercise can take place in your mind.
Though I was hardly out of bitter resentment when my mother passed away on April 17, 2010, the intervening five years have provided lots of chances to introspect upon the role we each played in one another’s worlds. Given I ascribe to the idea we “choose” our parents I’ve long ago understood her purpose and mine.
At her eulogy, I willingly offered up what I came to call “gracious integrity”. This term means – how do I express my own authenticity while delivering fitting positive remarks with my father sitting in the chapel pew. Here are five sources of gratitude I was genuinely able to declare:
- She and my Dad wanted me. They were thrilled when I was born.
- Although highly over-protective (to the point of smothering), she devoted herself to my care and upbringing. Highly creative, I have fond memories of the arts and crafts projects we did together at the kitchen table following school.
- My appreciation is heart-felt for the fact she allowed her kitchen and pot to be stunk up weekly cooking butchered liver for my cat, Muschi. We came to realize this was unhealthy for the feline. Our shared intent was to give the animal nourishing food.
- Like multitudes of war-torn European immigrants to Canada in the 1950’s, she arrived on Toronto’s shores with little more than the clothes on her back. Such courage and pioneering spunk draw my HUGE admiration.
- Back to the Garage Sale, removing photos from one of her wallets gives huge insight into what she valued – family and milestones. The photo attached (typically taken by my Dad) demonstrates her pride in me. Thank you, Mommy.
If you’re curious to learn more about how I overcame my sorrows contending with a mother who had schizophrenic paranoia during most of my formative years, please reach out at (905) 822-2503 or email at email@example.com