This week’s theme is to write about our mothers. My mom is an Episcopalian priest, one of the church’s first women to be ordained in Connecticut in fact. She is an author, a feminist, a blogger, a pastoral counselor, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a mother and a grandmother.
Mother daughter relationships are complicated – something I’m learning at record pace right now with 2 teenage daughters. So writing about my mom was not my first choice, but sometimes doing that which you don’t want can be therapeutic – so we will see when I’m done if that’s true.
Given the above accomplishments, it might not be surprising to know that my mom wasn’t around much when I was growing up. While I have gained an appreciation for the independence, resourcefulness and resilience this instilled in me, there are still days I feel sad or angry that I didn’t have whatever “normal” mother daughter relationship I thought I was supposed to have with her – if that makes any sense?
As a mother myself, I vowed to be different, and it’s been a struggle, because I am a lot like my mother. My career and professional drive are very important to me and take a lot of time away from my personal life in general and my children in particular.
I’d like to say I’m doing young motherhood better than my mom – I think she would agree. Generationally alone, I have a leg up on her. I’m not as alone as she was. I’ve benefitted from the equality fights she and others before me have won. I had a ton of therapy before I had children whereas she had to do it all when we were growing up. So, all said and done my odds at having a successful career while raising children without screwing up one, the other or both are far better than hers ever were.
I know my mom did the best she could. And over the years her honesty, willingness to hear my pain and that of my siblings, and her absolute commitment to me at every step of my adult life have served to heal and grow our relationship.
Do I still wish I could have sewn curtains, learned to iron or baked cookies with her growing up? Yup but it’s okay. And if I’m honest with myself, I’d admit that baking cookies with my kids is over-rated and sewing with them interesting but generally sort of boring for all of us.
So, as I sit here tonight pondering yet another mother’s day – the 17th in my life, the 50th in my mom’s life – I think how damn hard it is to be a mom – how easy it is to lose your grip – and how astonishing it is that you can love your children as much as we all do – so much so that one minute you could strangle them and the next minute you want to hold them tight and never let them go.
And when the day is over you might think “holy shit, they are gonna walk out of my life to create their own and I sure as hell don’t want to be thinkin’ – is that it?!”
So, for now, every mom day is a new mom day – good, bad or ugly – but mostly another mom day that matters.