But raising our children to be independent has a dark side for us mothers out there.
I really loved my children and enjoyed their growing up years, but I also looked forward to knowing them as adults and being a part of their lives. However, we never know how things will turn out and loves and career often take our children far away from us.
My mother had to deal with that. I moved to California from Michigan the day after I graduated from college.
Off I went, just like that. It was 1970. What can I say? In those days, everyone from Michigan wanted to move to California. We wanted to be a part of "The Summer of Love" but didn't realize we had already missed it!
My mother's heart must have sunk when I announced I was moving 2000 miles away, but being the stoic Swedish woman that she was, she never said much about it except the occasional "if you weren't so far away." I think when I left, my Dad gave me $10. It was a symbolic gesture. Somehow he knew I had it all figured out (he later shared with me that he thought I was so brave to make that move. I could tell he wished he had done it himself). I was 22. Don't all twenty-two year olds have it all figured out?
So I lived my life in California, married, had children and only ventured back to Michigan to see my parents occasionally and they would come out to see me when they could. It was only when I had children that I realized what I was missing by living so far from my Mother and Dad.
My mother spent many Mother's Days without her children.
So now history repeats itself. My son and daughter both live far away so this last Mother's Day, I found myself alone. Hubby had to go on a business trip so I was really alone. But before you point fingers at him, his absence on Mother's Day actually bothered me less than my childrens' absence. I mean, I am not Hubby's mother (though sometimes it feels like I am)!
But we say we want our children to be independent and have their own lives so we have to walk the talk, and my children are living their own lives just as I wanted them to do.
So when Mother's Day rolls around it evokes all kinds of emotions. It can be a happy day when your family is around you and paying homage to what a great mother you are. But for some of us whose mothers have passed on, it can be a sad day. For many who wanted to be mothers and were not able to be, also a sad day. And for those of us who are mothers but whose children are not close by, it can also be a lonely day especially when our hubbies are gone too.
So what did I do all by myself on Mother's Day?
First, I refused to be sad.
I spent some time with my mother.
And then I spent some time with my children, because even though we are not physically together, I have them, and my mother, with me always through my happy memories.
In the end, whether we are alone or with our families, we will always have those memories.
I was alone on Mother's Day, but in the end Mother's Day is just a day, a day like every other day because every day I think of my children.
But I am fortunate. My children, despite their distance, seem to like me. They keep in touch and we see each other several times a year. So we continue to make memories. There is no guarantee that if we all lived in the same town that we would get along and see each other all of the time, so I am happy that we are as close as we can be. And I am glad that they are happy and successful. Because wasn't that the whole point?
We can't control what will happen to our children, what choices they will make. We can only give them the wings to fly away and be independent and hope that those wings will hold them up. And that one day those wings will bring them back (this is totally metaphorical. I don't literally want them moving back in)!
But I felt so strongly about those wings that I had them permanently imprinted on my arm so I would never forget my role (and I was in my 60's when I did it - but don't tell my mother)!
What does Mother's Day mean to me?
It's a great day to honor our mothers and for mothers to think about their children, but we don't really need a "day" to tell us to do that. We can do that any day and we should. And while our loved ones are around, we should be sure we tell them what they mean to us so we don't have any regrets. And then when we can't be together, we have our memories which are timeless and eternal.
So on my Mother's Day by myself, I spent time with those memories, reminiscing, remembering all of the fun and the stories and the funny things my kids used to say, and then being so glad I have such wonderful, successful adults. I knew I had done my job. I had given them the wings to fly away. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, sad and all alone, I felt grateful for my little family. I had all of those memories to keep me company.
And then I went out and, with a smile on my face, treated myself to a new outfit and a nice Mother's Day meal...all by myself...but not alone.
Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday
for my review of
The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)
and the latest on
"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
I Die Project."
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