"God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers." ― Ruyard Kipling
I have this distant memory of getting into a terrible fight with somebody in my family.
I forget nearly everything about that day—whom I was fighting with, how old I was at the time, or what it was all about.
I just recall sitting on the living room couch fuming, so righteous in my anger. My mother was sitting next to me, trying to talk some sense into me—a lost cause if ever there was one.
I had decided that I was the injured party, I had been thoroughly wrong, and I demanded satisfaction—from somebody.
And then I fell completely apart, weeping and wailing while my mother put her arms around me and said, “Mommy loves you all up!”
Chronologically, I was well beyond the age when I should’ve been crying on my mother’s shoulder. Clearly my emotional state was another story.
The story comes back to me on this Mother’s Day as I work my way through a personal and professional crisis. My mother isn’t around anymore to wipe away my tears and, as my shrink tells me, “you have to become the parent as well as the child.”
Yes, that’s true, but some days I really don’t want to be.
I’ve had these terrible thoughts during my unguarded moments, when all kinds of toxic emotional sewage leaks out of my subconscious to destroy my happiness. I start thinking about my mother and how I am a disappointment to her. I never married; I never gave her grandchildren; I caused all sorts of heartache and aggravation.
It can get pretty awful if I don’t grab hold of my mind and rein in these hateful emotions. At a time when I should be showing myself some serious kindness, I’m unleashing all sorts of misery upon myself--and falsely signing my mother’s name to it.
I take some solace in the fact that I’m beginning to recognize this hideous thinking—or lack of thinking, but I want to get to a point where I don’t have these terrible thoughts in the first place.
The truth, of course, is that my mother would never tell any of us that we were a disappointment to us. She’d never complain about not having grandchildren and she wouldn’t care if we were multi-billionaires or shoveling French fries at McDonald’s.
“I just want you to be happy,” she’d tell us over and over.
And she meant it, right down to the bottom of her heart. That’s the person I want to honor and remember today, my real mother, not my subconscious mind’s twisted version of her.
I chose to remember the woman who loved us all up.