Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Reflections

Yesterday was Mother's Day, a day when we remember our own mothers, our friends and loved ones who are mothers, etc., etc.  I got spoiled, spoiled by gifts, beautiful and heartfelt cards, special texts and Facebook messages.  But more importantly, I spent time with those I love, and I was reminded of the importance of family.

Being the oldest of 8 children, I always knew I wanted children of my own.  I loved the way there was always a sibling home to play with when I was bored, there was always something going on in the house, and it wasn't quiet.  And I liked it that way.  I loved playing Mommy to my younger siblings, and I know I was bossy, but I liked to feel that I was in charge, too, because I was the oldest.  I remember the disappointment of my high school guidance counselor when he tried to convince me to go to a prestigious college because I had such high grades and I told him that I wanted to be a wife and mother and maybe a teacher and that I didn't want to go to an expensive school.  He finally gave up on me.  Yes, I always wanted to be a Mom, and I have been for almost 20 years.  Being a Mother is my greatest joy in this world and my 3 children are my greatest accomplishments.  So see, Mr. Daley, I was right, this was what I was meant to do.

I remember being pregnant with my oldest child.  I had gone to lamaze classes, had watched the birthing video and had talked with others about pregnancy.  But yet, when I woke up one morning with contractions and timed them to be 3 mins. apart for a couple of hours, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I remember waiting until 8 AM to call my mother and telling her that this was so easy.  The contractions were already 3 mins apart and didn't even hurt; as a matter of fact, I was playing solitaire killing the time to avoid calling her at the crack of dawn.  Well, I went to the hospital 4 times that day, and 3 of those times they sent me home because things weren't happening quickly, and I wasn't in enough pain for them to admit me.  By the time they admitted me, I could barely walk or talk through the contractions, which was the criteria they said I needed in order to be allowed to stay and give birth.  And by the time my son was born just after midnight, I no longer thought it was a piece of cake, and my solitaire card game was long over.

And the longer I am a mother, I realize that the labor and delivery was the easy part.  Once you become a mother, you are responsible for someone, you have a job to do, a person depending on you for their physical needs as well as their emotional needs.  It is up to you, the Mother, to show them the way, to do your best to teach manners, to teach responsibility, to teach kindness and respect.  Sound like a big responsibility? It is.

That said, all we as Mothers can do, is our best.  Will we screw up occasionally?  Of course we will.  But own it when you do, the same way we expect our children to own up to their wrongdoings.  Don't be afraid to say to your child "I don't know" or "I'm sorry" or "That wasn't right of Mommy".  Be real, be a person, be human and admit to your wrongdoings.  We don't know it all, and we do screw up, and if we can't admit it when we do, then how can we ask that of our children?

I have many hopes and dreams for my children.  When they were younger, I wished for them to be polite, have good manners, not hit or bite, and to be respectful.  Now that they are older, I still wish all those things for them, but my list has grown. I wish that they be strong, be honest, be true and loyal, always do their best, treat others with kindness and the same respect they want from others, and to be real.  Stand up for yourselves, but do it in the right manner.  Hold firm to your beliefs, and if you feel strongly about something, be respectful about others' opinions and beliefs, but don't back down if you think you are right.  Treat your friends and your boy/girlfriends with dignity, don't lie, be honest about your feelings, even if those feelings differ from theirs and don't leave someone guessing as to their importance in your life.

And most of all, my child, be YOU, because you are special, you are funny, you are kind, you are wonderful, and you are loved.

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