|Seeds burst from bull rushes at Chemainus Lake:|
mothers sending children off into the world
One of the pleasures of my recent trip to attend my sister's Celebration of Life last week was the opportunity to spend time with my daughter, both on the ride up and sharing a hotel room for three days. Okay, I'm a person who likes living alone (well, as alone as one can ever be with critters around!) and likes my own space, so I was a bit apprehensive - while I love my daughter dearly and I know she loves me, we are not what you might call a closely bonded pair. We phone or email each other once every couple of months or so, but we would never be mistaken for sisters - or even kin - in either looks or personality. Yet we do both enjoy the outdoors, photography, writing, reading, and the occasional family gathering. Perhaps we are more alike than first appears.
Motherhood is, I believe, one of the most stressful and demanding choices a person can make. I single-parented for eighteen years, just the one child, and I am in awe of those who single-parent multiple children without losing their mind or ending up doing time for murder. And I am even more in awe of mothers who so obviously enjoy parenting. While there were some parts of it I liked - like reading a bedtime story, or watching her reach a new milestone in life, parenting was definitely not my forte. My child was a challenge at times, though thankfully it was because of our opposing personalities rather than any of the scarier teen issues like drugs or alcohol or crime. She was a good student, had really nice friends, and turned into an amazing adult. I am so proud of her. My daughter, now in her mid-thirties, matured beautifully in spite of me!
In many ways, our relationship mimics the one I have had with my own mother - strained at times, but I always knew she was there for me. She, too, was an independent woman, a strong woman, a woman with whom I lacked a close emotional attachment in day-to-day life but hold firmly in my heart. Watching mom in these her final months or years of life (she is 93) is not easy - in recent years she has lost so much that brought her happiness - her mobility, her eyesight, some hearing, some cognitive abilities, and, of course, her oldest daughter. It hurts to see her unhappy, and I often feel guilty for not seeing her more often or doing for her the little things my sister did to bring her pleasure. I find myself wondering how my daughter will handle my senior years. Having a very elderly mother is almost as challenging as having a very young child.
My daughter phoned me bright and early this morning; and I will phone my mother a little later in the day. Meanwhile, true to form, we will each do our own thing - three independent, sometimes stubborn women, connected by the strings of the heart and the strands of DNA.
Happy Mothers' Day to the mothers out there. May your family times be happy ones, your memories be good ones, and your children grow up fine - not your clone, but individuals in their own right, ready to take on a challenging world.
(And this wasn't the topic I had planned to write about this morning - I had seven topics in mind, but this is what popped out. Perhaps tomorrow I will post about the trip, or my new toy, or the landscaping that starts at 7 AM tomorrow, or the concert I attended, or the bears, or - oh yes - the inspiration for ever starting my blog: the animals! )